Conservation students help endangered marine turtles in Malta

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Students from New College Lanarkshire have gained first-hand experience of helping rescued marine turtles during an Erasmus+ work placement in Malta.

NQ Animal Biology and Conservation students from our Coatbridge Campus took part in a two-week-long placement at Nature Trust Malta earlier this summer.

They worked at the Marine Conservation Unit in Marsaxlokk where they cared for rescued marine turtles, most of which had become entangled in fishing nets or plastic debris, or suffered injuries caused by fishing hooks.

The Nature Trust Malta programme aims to rescue, rehabilitate and release injured turtles. The centre is home to turtles ranging from approximately 30cm to almost two metres long.

The three NCL students selected gained a variety of practical skills, such as how to clean tanks, prepare food and feed the turtles.

They also learned about the importance of providing turtles with vitamin supplements, and how to apply medication.

The three species of marine turtles found around Malta’s coastline – the Loggerhead turtle, the Green turtle and the Leatherback turtle – are now listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The students were so moved by the plight of marine turtles that they teamed up with Health and Social Care students from the College to fundraise more than 50 euros.

The monies raised helped the Trust to buy gifts, including vitamins and food supplements, toys, and cleaning equipment.

Course tutors Lisa Di Meo and Michael Balzo were impressed with their students’ initiative.

Michael said: “All the Erasmus+ students from different curriculum areas worked together to fundraise to help these wonderful endangered animals.”

A further two students of NQ Animal Biology and Conservation carried out work placements at APH Veterinary Hospital.

Last month, New College Lanarkshire announced that Erasmus+ funding has been secured until 2021, which will allow more than 500 students to benefit from overseas work placement opportunities.

Students participating in Erasmus+ activities undertake placements related to their studies in addition to experiencing cultural activities within their placement country.

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