Scientists carry a sea turtle before releasing it into the sea on May 21, 2022 in the Tunisian coastal city of Sfax.

Three rescued bald turtles were released into the Mediterranean off Tunisia on Sunday, one with a tracking beacon attached to its shell to help researchers better protect the endangered species.

Tunisia’s main risks to sea turtles are fishing, as they become entangled in nets – including three that have been released into the wild.

Migratory species that can live up to 45 years are listed as “vulnerable” in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

The release of the turtles was observed by a crowd of about 50 people, many of them children, carried out by a specialized care center in the eastern port of Sfax in Tunisia.

About 35 turtles have been cared for at the center in the past year as part of the Mediterranean Life Med Turtle project.

Environmental activists helped transport the heavy turtles down the beach before the animals crawled the last distance to the sea.

They were all marked, but one of them also had a phone-sized tracking beacon glued to its hard shell that would track its progress as it moved across the sea.

“This beacon, provided to us by the University of Primorska in Slovenia, will allow us to follow this turtle in its movements,” said Imed Jribi, a science professor at Sfax University and coordinator of the Life Med Turtle project.

Scientists have attached a monitor to track one of the turtle's shells

Scientists have attached a monitor to track one of the turtle’s shells.

“The identification of wintering, grazing and migratory routes plays an important role in the conservation of this endangered species,” Jribby said.

In addition to cephalopods, two other species of turtles are found in the Mediterranean, the green turtle and the leatherback turtle.

California is adopting new protections for leatherback turtles

© 2022 AFP

Quote: Turtles released in Tunisia with a tracking monitor (2022, 22 May) extracted on 23 May 2022 from

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