Sea turtle conservation requires a unique collaboration between biologists, regulatory authorities, medical professionals, and the public. Within this framework, the Sea Turtle Rescue Alliance (STRA) aims to contribute uniquely to sea turtle conservation through sharing and enhancing of best practices in medical therapy, husbandry and treatment during the rescue, rehabilitation and release of stranded, entangled or distressed sea turtles, which is the clinical and critical goal of each STRA-affiliated veterinarian.
STRA-affiliated centres will have access to a qualified, licensed veterinarian(s). The purpose of the alliance is to promote the professional collaboration and sharing of best practice clinical knowledge, techniques and data in order to refine and improve sea turtle health at “rescue and release” facilities worldwide.
It is the ethical obligation to the welfare of treated sea turtles in STRA affiliated centres, to apply the best possible care and medical practices with the aim to release every single individual to the wild.
Platforms for Collaboration
The network will be online and member accessible with a library of information relating to all aspects of running a sea turtle rescue centre, including evidence based best practice husbandry and medical procedures.
The alliance will also provide access to an ad-hoc cloud based patient care and practice management software platform, where rescue centres can log and store data in real time, using a streamlined and standardised platform for data collection and clinical case sharing. Furthermore, the software is equipped with a telemedicine function to allow for remote clinical support and consultation, where protocols and cases can be discussed with real time access to clinical records.
The alliance will also provide where necessary and possible, online and in-person clinical training and workshops catered for individual rescue centres or regions.
These STRA-member-lead (or alliance-lead) courses and workshops will be focused on turtle husbandry during medical care/rehabilitation and turtle medicine, they will be hosted online and in person, to advance knowledge and enhance capacity of less experienced and new centres.
- Online Accessible Source Library
- Cloud Based Software Database
- Sea turtle medicine workshops
- Real time expert veterinary advice
- Annual conference workshop at ISTS or regional medical conferences
- Global social media presence
- An Academic, Governmental and Non-Governmental Institutions, herein the “Centre”, will be eligible to join the Alliance as an Affiliated Partner only if its rescue and rehabilitation related activities are conducted or supervised by a full-time qualified, licensed veterinarian.
- In cases whereby the Centre does not have access to a full-time, qualified, and licensed veterinarian, the Centre can be “endorsed” in writings by two (2) STRA-affiliated licensed veterinarians. The two (2) Veterinarians will guarantee and support their endorsed Centre acting as liaison within the Alliance.
- Centres must practice “Rescue and Release” of sea turtles. Any sea turtle in care of the Centre that is physically and behaviourally able to swim, dive, and successfully forage must be released, unless otherwise determined by the STRA-affiliated licensed veterinarian. Non-releasable turtles are defined as turtles that have been rehabilitated, but which have permanent disabilities that are determined by the attending veterinarian to preclude their survival in the wild.
- Any facility holding non-releasable sea turtles for educational display (and non- commercial purpose only) must follow best practices and high standard conditions and maintain documentation that the sea turtles were legally removed from the wild.
- Centres that have an affiliation to the captivity industry and live display of marine mammals are not eligible for membership.
- Should a centre have an affiliation to the captivity industry but rescues and rehabilitates turtles on site, the attending qualified and licensed veterinarian may become a member of the Alliance directly and not in conjunction with the centre.