Social-media appeal leads to turtle rescue
Divers Choy Aming and Blake Burgess came to the rescue of a distressed turtle this week after an appeal for help went out on social media.
Tara Leane Sullivan, whose house overlooks Hamilton Harbour, spotted the turtle struggling to stay afloat some 40 feet from the shore near Lower Ferry, Paget, on Tuesday afternoon.
She took a photograph of the turtle around 2.30pm and, uncertain who to contact, put it on Maj’s List on Facebook, where other members of the popular group gave her the contact information for the Bermuda Aquarium.
She said she called the Aquarium and reached principal curator and veterinarian Ian Walker who dispatched aquarists Mr Aming and Mr Burgess to the scene.
Ms Sullivan said she then had to leave home to collect her daughter but could see the turtle drifting in an easterly direction as she drove.
By then, Mr Burgess and Aming were arriving at the scene and Mr Burgess took to the water and rescued the exhausted turtle.
Ms Sullivan was relieved to see the Aquarium van parked near Highwood Lane and to learn that the turtle had been rescued when returned home around 3.30pm.
“I always see a few turtles from my house and they are usually too quick to dive underwater for me to take a pictures, but this one was clearly struggling and I could see it slipping below the surface, so I knew something was not right,” she said last night.
“I could see it was trying to keep its flippers going, so I felt there was a chance it would make it. I am just glad to see it was a happy ending.“
Mr Aming, best known for his work on the Bermuda Shark Project, and Mr Burgess returned to the Aquarium with the turtle, which was described as being underweight. It was recovering from its ordeal yesterday.
Dr Walker could not be reached for comment but said last month that increasing numbers of injured and unwell turtles are being brought to the Aquarium.
He and Bermuda Turtle Project director Jennifer Gray have warned that a lack of seagrass, which the turtles feed on, will lead to further declines in the population.