In the Blue Ocean Conservation and Rescue Center, Li’an Port, Lingshui Li Autonomous County, Hainan Province, a huge hawksbill turtle is crawling slowly on the floor. A young woman in a white coat and a surgical mask, follows closely behind it, applying a healing salve to its broken shell. Her name is Yong Zheng, and she is the attending doctor of this special “patient.”
Established in February 2018 with an investment of 40 million RMB (roughly 6 million USD) by the Hainan R&F Properties, the Blue Ocean Conservation and Rescue Center was the first fully-functional marine animal hospital in Hainan. The Center has two functional areas: the quarantine area and the veterinary hospital which was called “state-of-the-art” because of its complete equipment and advanced technology. So far, the Center has rescued and released dozens of marine animals such as hawksbill turtles, green turtles, and horseshoe crabs.
“An unfortunate encounter with a whale contributed to the establishment of the center.” Yang Chunlei, the Center’s manager, recalled with emotion. In 2016, a pilot whale was stranded on the beach. Despite more than 20 hours of continuous rescue, the whale died of respiratory failure. “If we had more local professional treatment areas and equipment, the tragedy might be avoided.”
The “attending doctor”, Yong, has a master’s degree in animal ecology and traveled to Taiwan and Hong Kong to learn about marine animal rescue.
Yong applied Vaseline to the hawksbill turtle’s shell to protect the affected area from water. Then, the nurse brought her a thin green turtle. “It was sent to us by local fishermen five months ago. I don’t know how many days and nights it spent trapped in the fishing net. When it first came, it weighed less than 7 kilograms.” Said Yong while gently inserting a homemade feeder into the throat of the green turtle. She started feeding it with fresh minced fish.
“It was lucky to have made it, and now it has grown to 9 kilograms.” Yong stroked the turtle like a doting parent. The turtle was all skins and bones when it arrived, and the staff could not even find its blood vessels. However, it still placed its forelimbs on the pool to receive injections. Its desire for life inspired people to help it return to the sea.
“The Center is setting up a conservation fund to do population surveys of local wild animals and public education. The center will become an advocate for more public participation in the conservation and rescue work of marine animals.” Yang Chunlei said.
All information comes from www.sohu.com
Translated by Andrea Jia
Edited by Andrea Jia and Riley Peng @ Animal Dialogue