Description

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The “Database & Online Map of Sea Turtle Rescue & First Aid Centres in the Mediterranean” (Sea Turtle Rescue Map) is a project by MEDASSET, aiming to bridge information, communication, and collaboration gaps in sea turtle conservation. It is the first tool to provide open access to information about all known rescue facilities in the Mediterranean to the public and professionals alike.

The project stemmed from a paper by Ullmann & Stachowitsch (2015) which calls for platforms that provide ‘better information on the number and types of rescue facilities on a Mediterranean scale’.[1]

The database is presented to the public as an online Google Map that is managed by MEDASSET. To multiply the initiative’s aims and impact, relevant organisations can freely use this new tool by embedding the Google Map on their websites. With up-to-date information provided by each facility it is an extremely reliable source. The database and maps will be periodically updated, maintained and improved after the launch.

Users can find information about the rescue facilities that exist around the Mediterranean and can easily locate the nearest centre in case of emergency. Facilities are classified into three types according to their rescue and care capacities: Sea Turtle Rescue Centres (STRCs), First Aid Stations (FASTs) and Informal Rescue Facilities (IRFs). By clicking on each facility one can view the location, contact details (address, email, contact persons, telephone numbers), whether it accepts volunteers, and the number of turtles cared for to date.

The “Sea Turtle Rescue Map” is a unique, efficient and simple information tool that provides the public with open access to accurate and current information on all facilities that rescue and care for sea turtles in the Mediterranean. At the same time, it increases public awareness about the existence of this network of facilities. Furthermore, the project provides the first up-to-date visual tool that can be used to identify gaps in the number and location of sea turtle facilities in the Mediterranean, which as a key issue in marine turtle conservation.

Sea turtle rescue centres provide much needed care to injured sea turtles which may have otherwise perished. These centres are also vital in the quest to discover more about sea turtle anatomy and the human impacts on their health, which can assist us in continuing to fight for their conservation. Through the treatment of sea turtles, centres can generate useful knowledge about sea turtle health, migratory routes and distribution, and about advanced genetic identification, all vital to managing sea turtle populations. The centres are also able to identify specific pollutants, identify new hazards and conduct more research on their effects on turtles, therefore allowing for the distribution of new information to assist in their conservation [2].

Future objectives for the tool’s further development include the translation into other Mediterranean languages, interactive options for facilities to directly update the database, adding an exchange/discussion forum for facilities. Donors and funders are invited to support the tool’s development!

We welcome your feedback! Facilities that do not currently appear on the map but wish to be included are invited to contact us.

MEDASSET would like to warmly thank J. Ullmann and M. Stachowitsch, rescue centre contact persons, MEDASSET’s volunteers (Justin Judge, Emily Sun, Holly Tzortzakis, Elena Bountouraki) and all those who contribute information and feedback for the creation of the database and map.

MEDASSET has not assessed and is not responsible for the status or quality of operation of the facilities presented in the map. The information presented in the map is provided by the facilities and has been verified by national authorities (if indicated in each facility description). Facilities not shown on this map have not provided information.

[1] Ullmann J, Stachowitsch M (2015) A critical review of the Mediterranean sea turtle rescue network: a web looking for a weaver. Nature Conservation 10: 45–69.
[2] RAC/SPA: 2004: Guidelines to improve the involvement of marine rescue centres for marine turtles RAC/SPA, Tunis, 2004. www.rac-spa.org/sites/default/files/doc_turtles/glrs.pdf

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