22nd Jun 2020 @ 1:18 pm

The Cabildo has reminded islanders that a special service is available for the rescue and treatment of injured wild animals.

First published in Gazette Life, June 1st 2020.

In early May, a video of a turtle rescue in Playa Honda did the rounds on local social media. The footage showed a turtle entangled in discarded fishing nets that had been discovered by sports swimmers, who disentangled the creature and set it free.

Congratulations for their act were tempered with reminders that this wasn’t the correct way to deal with an animal in such a state. In these cases, it is always best that a trained professional undertakes the task of freeing the animal, assesses its state of health and decides whether to free it or take it into care temporarily.

In the case of turtles, which are sadly found more and more frequently entangled in fishing net, experts will check to see they have not been severely injured or contracted necrosis, which could easily kill them even after being freed.

Cabildo President María Dolores Corujo said “It is important to know how to act if we find wild creatures, and to put them in the hands of professionals who can give them the proper treatment before returning them to their natural habitat.”

The service can be accessed by calling the 24-hour emergency number 112 or the telephone number for the Collection of Injured Wild Fauna: 696733177 Mon-Sun: 10am-8pm December to August and 7.15 am to 10 pm in September, October and November

This variation in hours reflects one of the main tasks of the wildlife rescue service – protecting young shearwaters whose maiden flights have ended in disaster. Shearwater chicks are fattened up and left alone by their parents before taking to the air in late summer. However, as they navigate by the light of the moon they are often distracted by human light sources and can crash on land, where they are easy prey for cats and dogs.