We celebrated this year’s World Sea Turtle Day in the most beautiful way, by returning the recovered sea turtle Zlata in nature.

Zlata is a juvenile loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) that was found stranded on the rocks of Golden bay in Mali Lošinj at the end of January. Extremely exhausted and malnourished back then, today it is a healthy, active and well-nourished individual ready to continue its life in the sea.

All those that gathered today had the opportunity to learn more about the biology and ecology of sea turtles and the threats they face today, with special emphasis on the role of the rescue centre in protecting and conserving this endangered species. Thanks to funding provided from the Operational Programme Competitiveness and Cohesion of the European Structural and Investment Funds (KK., preparations are underway to increase the capacity of the Sea Turtle Rescue Centre and to improve the conditions for the recovery of injured sea turtles.

Since Zlata was saved thanks to a timely report from citizens, we used this opportunity to promote citizen science by using the mobile and web application eTurtle to report sightings of healthy, sick, injured, dead or by-caught sea turtles. The eTurtle application was developed as part of the Collective Actions for Improving the Conservation Status of the EU Sea Turtle Populations (LIFE EUROTURTLES) project, which is being implemented with the support of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union.