Some Thoughts on Turtles

Turtles are one of the most antique creatures we still have on the planet. They have survived everything until now because of their outstanding resilience. Sadly they find it difficult to survive plastic pollution and our current fishing methods!

The Natural Reserve of Torre Guaceto has a “Hospital” for turtles I had the pleasure to visit (it’s open to the public every day from 3pm till 4pm) and get an explanation about the problems these turtles face. The major cause of sickness, and the main reason for them being in a hospital, is men-caused! There are men who heal them from the damage inflicted by other men, this is how I see it.

Deep-sea bottom trawling is a major cause of harm and death of Sea Turtles!!

I have never really thought about turtles, and in general… while I do feel love and respect for all the creatures walking (and swimming) on Mother Earth, I have never been touched the way I have by turtles the moment I entered their hospital. I had never even saw a turtle that big in real life! A warm feeling pervaded my being. To see them suffering because either hit by a propeller which damaged their carapace or because they have ingested plastic bags exchanging them for jelly fish or because they accidentally found themselves entangled in the fishing nets is something so unfair, so brutal, so wrong!

The idea that turtles have survived everyone until the advent of the modern human should make you think.

How much time does it take for a turtle to heal?… a fracture may take up to 2 years for example, because their times are slower and longer. So imagine this turtle must stay in the tub all that time, imagine her double sufferance.

I write about this and yet I wonder what difference would it make to you reader if you have never seen a turtle. If you live in the mountains, what difference does it make for you whether there are turtles or not in the sea? Perhaps this is the problem. The fact that because I don’t live in Afrika, I don’t live close to the elephants so the “Save the Elephants” campaign doesn’t affect me. Elephants are not my problem. Turtles are not my problem. Tigers are not my problem! I live in the city: wild animals are not my problem! …. Do you see THE PROBLEM now? Humans have detached from their humanity which is what keeps us connected to the planet, to Mother Earth, to animals and to the plants. So unless something affects directly my wellbeing I will look the other way, perhaps I might show sympathy to those fighting for a natural cause.
I generalise, I know not everyone (Thank God) is detached from its humanity, and these people are waking up the humanity in others ❤
The thing is… we need to start to care about everything and everyone. Why? Because everyone contributes to life, every little creature, every mineral, every person, every tree, every flower adds beauty, talents, gifts, experience and more to the life on Planet Earth.

You know, a couple days before the Plastic X Coffee Campaign launch and the visit to the turtles’ hospital I went to the beach in the early morning, just as usual. The unusual was having 4 kids with me, the sons and daughters of my friends who had to work and I thought it would be nice for the children to spend the morning at the beach. We were walking from the bar toward the tower (torre=tower) and when we got to the specific beach where I loved spending my mornings… I saw a baby turtle!! The children were amazed and excited, I suddenly worried for her life. Luckily there were park rangers driving by and I told Davide to run tell them about the turtle we found. They took it with them. All morning I was worried about whether I have or not done the right thing, there is a part of me that believes nature is perfect and in the wilderness only the toughest survives. So what if, I wondered, by helping that turtle we made her weak? What if we had to leave her to her own destiny? What if I could’ve just thrown her into the sea to help her enter?… Long story short, the next day I see a post on the instagram page of @torreguaceto where they write about this baby turtle: this was not a sea turtle but a swamp turtle!! Had I thrown it into the water or left it there on the sea shore, it would’ve died dehydrated. The Natural Reserve of Torre Guaceto has swamps where the Emys Orbicularis turtles live (I shared a video of the baby turtle on my instagram account). I was relieved to find out she would survive. I was happy to have helped. Ironically, there were other people who passed next to it before we did but nobody noticed this little cuteness.

I realised that until the moment I entered in the turtles’ hospital I didn’t care enough about them. But now, after having felt their suffering, how can I turn away? How can I pretend it’s ok what they’re facing? Once I get touched by something or someone it stays in me forever. What can I do? What can you do? Allow yourself to be touched by life, and be prepared to be changed.

Turtles are the symbol of Earth in many native cultures. Turtle energy is grounding. Turtles are necessary for life.

It makes a difference to see wild animals in zoos and in their natural habitat. In zoos they are less real, it’s like a show has been put up for you. But when you see a wild animal in its home, its real home, it is breath taking. Suddenly you are reminded we share the planet with creatures just as majestic as the humans.
I think what hit me was the thought that they shouldn’t be here, they should be in the sea, free and healthy! One had her carapace a bit broken, another has only one lung left, another one ingested plastic and a smaller one had plastic/nylon nets around her neck and feet! When a turtle feels sick she floats and stops eating.
Once the turtle is healed… it gets released into the sea and that moment is indescribable. Which is what happened on Sunday ❤