Zoomarine is urging fishermen in the Algarve to catch live jellyfish to feed a rescued giant leatherback sea turtle which is “refusing to eat the frozen squid” that is being provided by the theme park. The animal was rescued at Meia Praia beach in Lagos last Thursday (click here).
Biologist Élio Vicente told SIC television that these turtles are used to eating live jellyfish which is probably why the turtle won’t eat any of the food that it has been given.
Thus, fishermen who have captured jellyfish and would like to help with the turtle’s recovery are encouraged to contact the theme park in Guia.
The turtle was entangled in fishing nets when it was spotted struggling in the water. It was brought to shore with the help of beachgoers, who helped lift it onto a vehicle to be taken to Zoomarine’s marine life rehabilitation centre.
Nursing it back to health is proving difficult now that the turtle is refusing to eat.
The theme park explains that this species of turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), which usually weighs between 250 and 300 kilos, is particularly hard to handle because it is so big, and its lack of a bony shell makes it especially prone to skin injuries and infections.
The turtle may still develop pneumonia, says the park, as a result of the water it inhaled during the “minutes or hours” that it was caught in the net.