One of the turtles is released back into the sea. / FRANCIS SILVA

This is the 'emotional' moment two turtles were released back into the sea after life-saving care in Malaga

It has taken a long time, but thanks to the Aula del Mar marine life centre and its recovery centre for endangered species, the pair have been able to return home

CRISTINA PINTO Malaga

One was found in June 2019 and the other in May 2021: that was when two young turtles of the ‘caretta caretta’ species appeared a few metres from the Costa del Sol shore, weak and dehydrated. They needed to be cared for, and were taken to the Aula del Mar’s Recovery Centre for Endangered Species in Malaga Port (CREMA), which has been looking after such animals since 1994. Experts there realised that both had suffered considerable harm after consuming plastic, and their treatment was long and complicated. Now, though, in June 2022, these two turtles have recovered and were released into the sea again on Monday. They are going home.

The emotional farewell was witnessed by a group from the Purísima Concepción association for the disabled, who were on the city sightseeing tourist boat along with some of the Crema team and officials including the president of the Malaga provincial authority, Francisco Salado and the Junta de Andalucía’s general secretary for the Environment, Sergio Arjona, among others.

The turtles were released two miles offshore and the first seemed a little disorientated and swam around for a while until realising what had happened and taking off, but the second had a better idea of what was going on and immediately headed out of sight at a fast speed.

Francisco Salado described the experience as “emotional”, saying that it had been an important day and he felt very satisfied, not just as a politician but also as a person. The president of the Aula del Mar marine life museum, Juan Antonio López Jaime, who was also on the trip, said “Today is a day of celebration; yesterday was World Environment Day and we have to look after the environment. This has been a wonderful experience”.

The team from Crema also took the opportunity to explain some of the current problems for marine species which are caused by contamination, plastics and climate change. “These problems are currently at the centre of the concerns for marine life,” they said. Thanks to their work, and that of the Aula del Mar, two turtles at least have been saved and have been able to go home.