The first Oceanographic Museum Festival took place on Saturday, with over 4,000 people in attendance, many of them eager to see a beautiful new rehabilitation aquarium made for sea turtles. ‘The Odyssey of the Sea Turtles’ was inaugurated by Prince Albert II during the festival and two loggerhead turtles were introduced to their new temporary home.
The 160,000 litre outdoor rehabilitation aquarium overlooks the waterfront in the Saint-Martin Gardens. The two new residents will soon be sharing their home with other marine animals, before being rehabilitated back into the sea. The new space took four years of work and five million euros of funding from the Princely Government.
Smoothies and Street Art
Hands-on activities, workshops and information stands were available for visitors, helping them have fun while raising awareness about marine animals. On the museum’s roof terrace, visitors were able to use a stationary bike to power a blender that makes smoothies. Anthony Alberti, aka Mr One Teas, ran a street art workshop, creating pieces about wildlife, sea turtles and the fight against pollution.
From sea to shining sea
The Monegasque Centre for the Care of Marine Species, in connection with specialized veterinarians, treats marine animals found on the coasts of the Principality and its neighbouring municipalities. Sea turtles, as well as noble pen shell clams and seahorses are looked after by the centre. Frequent injuries include: being accidentally caught in fishing nets, fishhook injuries, cracked shells and the ingestion of plastic.
Before returning to the open sea, turtles will be placed into the new open-air rehabilitation aquarium to ensure their capacity to feed and swim properly. Some of the turtles will be fitted with a ‘high-tech backpack,’ a scientific device which collects data about their movements, behaviours and feeding areas.
The public will be able to follow the itinerary of the rehabilitated turtles online. By contributing not only to their survival but also to the greater knowledge of their life cycle, the centre and new rehabilitation aquarium directly helps and protects these vital endangered animals.