Cyprus Bases environmental team confirms safe release of endangered turtle

The Sovereign Base Areas Environment Department says its delighted after the safe release of an endangered large female green turtle at the Meneou Rehabilitation Centre on June 8.

The protected turtle, named Ioli, was discovered stranded, with air trapped in her lungs at Zapalo Beach within the Western SBAs last July and was rescued by volunteers with the help of SBA authorities.

After undergoing rehabilitation at the Cyprus Fisheries Department, the turtle was released back into the water in the presence of the United States Ambassador Judith Garber, the Republic of Cyprus Agriculture Minister, Costas Kadis, officials from the SBAs and volunteers responsible for the initial rescue.

The release of Ioli took on extra significance as it also marked World Ocean Day and according to Pantelis Charilaou, the head of the SBA Administration Environment Department, it was the perfect way for the turtle to start her journey back into her natural habitat.

He said: “We were delighted to see the successful release at the Meneou Rehabilitation Centre on Tuesday. The successful return of such an endangered, symbolic animal to its natural habitat, is great news.”

And in paying tribute to the collaborative effort between the SBAs and RoC, he continued: “After a great deal of care by the Fisheries Department, it is a prime example of the positive outcome of collective action between authorities and volunteers.

“Thanks to environmentally aware beach-users, who contributed significantly to the subsequent difficult rescue, we were able to organise this rescue by the SBA Administration and SBA Police, in close co-operation with the Cyprus Fisheries and Marine Research Department.

“One of the main objectives of the SBAA Environment Department and the Akrotiri Environmental Education Centre, is to continuously promote such joint actions for the benefit of the conservation interest of Cyprus.”