IFAW Staffer Helps in an Unexpected Sea Turtle Rescue

When IFAW Russia's Lena Averianova left for vacation to Thailand, we never thought she would soon be reporting back with an animal rescue! It seems you can leave the job but the job never leaves you. Below is her experience with a one-armed endangered sea turtle that was rescued off a beach in the Island of Phuket.

Lena-TurtleRescue1 I recently spent my vacation on Thailand's Phuket Island. As I was enjoying a walk along the Katong beach, I suddenly realized that people were all running to a spot a few meters from where I was. Realizing that something unexpected was happening, I decided to go and have a look. Much to my surprise, I found a big sea turtle there, surrounded by lifeguards that were busy digging out a pool for the turtle to rest in and water-down. It soon became evident that the turtle had been inadvertently pushed out of the ocean by the very big waves that were spread out on the entire coast. The turtle had been visibly struggling to get back but had a hard time because it only had one flipper. How and when the turtle lost its flipper remains a mystery to me but it seemed that she had been able to survive like that for quite a long time.

A lot of tourists surrounded the turtle but no one really understood how careful you have to be around these animals and they soon started taking out their cameras and approached to touch her. I immediately told everyone to step back and that we would need to help her in this time of need, not place extra stress on the animal. I contacted the rescue team and waited there, watering the turtle and feeling nervous for her during 10 minutes while help arrived to where we were. They were soon able to examine the turtle and we placed her in a special basin for transportation. I didn't leave her side until the car left, headed for a suitable holding location where she will be rehabilitated and then hopefully go back to her ocean home.

Lena-TurtleRescue2 I've worked in IFAW's Russian office for nearly 8 years now and during that time I've helped many different animals. I was so happily surprised that even when far from my office and country I was again needed to help an animal in distress. I again understood that I'm really doing the work I'm supposed to do. It was also heartwarming to meet people that dedicate their lives to rescuing animals and know that I will find them all over the world.

For more information on the International Fund for Animal Welfare's work around the world, please visit http://www.ifaw.org

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