Captured Turtles Conditioned Sessions For Return To Sea

This is the moment a turtle struggles to battle a water current that is part of a training session to make her ready to live in the sea again after years in captivity.

The female loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), named Frankie, was living in a public aquarium located in the city of Almunecar, in the province of Granada, for many years.

During an inspection, it was found out that the turtle was too big for the place where it was and it was decided that she should be sent back to the sea.

But first, she needed to be trained to battle the elements.

She was sent to the facilities of the organisation Equalia, where she is getting ready to be released back into the wild with special training sessions including swimming, self-defence and fishing.

Eva Maria Moran, a coordinator at Equalia, told Newsflash that “she had grown a lot and the place was inappropriate for her”.

It is unclear how many years she was kept in captivity in the public aquarium but it is clear that it was long enough to become too used to the environment.

The Andalusia regional government decided to try to send her back to the sea and therefore to her natural habitat.

Despite doubts over whether or not she will be able to survive in a marine environment, members of the Equalia organisation are trying hard to make her used to real-life sea conditions.

The reptile, weighing more than 100 kilogrammes (220 lbs) and measuring 1.2 metres (3,93 feet) long is “difficult to manipulate” as it is too big and heavy.

But the huge turtle has only one month left to get used to the marine conditions and is working out to improve her physical conditions, as she is too fat and does not have strong enough muscles, Moran explained.

Frankie needs to survive the water currents and is being trained to do just that. At the beginning, according to Moran, the poor animal was exhausted after 10 minutes in the current, but she is getting better.

Another important part of the training is self-defence. The organisation’s members are trying to train her in that way, grabbing her head and paws, which are where a predator will attack.

Moran explained: “We are acting like her predators, attacking her in head, tail or paws.”

She added that at the beginning, she was not fighting back when they grabbed her tail, but now she is.

When she was in the public aquarium, she was fed with fish, but the food she is going to find are prawns, crustaceans and jellyfish. So she is being fed with that kind of food so that “she does not eat plastic bags or bread pieces”.

The animal, believed to be around 15 years old, has spent a lot of time in captivity and it is unclear if she has lived in the sea in the past as her background is unknown, which complicates her training process.

When she is released, she will have a GPS attached to her back to monitor her movements and progress.