VIDEO: '˜Invaluable' sea turtle mission explained
Student Morgan Yates is spending half-term in the Maldives, working on a project for Brighton Sea Life Centre.
Morgan, 14, from Poling is the centre’s junior sea turtle ambassador, having won a competition last year.
A student at The Angmering School, Morgan jetted off on Saturday to see turtle conservation in action in the wild and to meet an injured sea turtle that shares her name.
Morgan has already completed a short film for Sea Life fans about the threats to sea turtles and the need to protect them in the wild.
Accompanying her and her family on the trip are Olivia Cottrell, Sea Life guest experience host, and Andy Bool, head of the Sea Life Trust charity.
The trip includes visiting a rescue centre run by The Olive Ridley Project, another charity the trust is sponsoring.
Olivia said: “We planned the trip after learning of an Olive Ridley turtle rescued by the project which just happens to have been christened Morgan.
“This poor female turtle has had to have two flippers amputated because of injuries she suffered after getting trapped in ghost-netting, netting lost or simply discarded by fishing boats.
“There’s a strong possibility that Morgan the turtle will be re-homed to a Sea Life centre in Loch Lomond, Scotland, so it will be amazing to meet her before she comes.”
Morgan has been asked to produce a video of her experience and to help her, she was given some useful practice at Brighton Sea Life Centre on Friday.
She carried out a video interview with Olivia and her colleague Fiona Snowdon, who went to the Maldives on a coral reef restoration projection two years ago.
This week, Morgan will spend time working with staff at the rescue centre on the luxurious Baa Atoll, possibly even helping to release some of its fully-recovered patients.
As well as running the rescue centre the Olive Ridley Project has regular boat patrols clearing ghost-netting from Maldives seas.
Olive Ridley turtles visit the Maldives in large numbers and in the last seven years, more than 300 of them have ended up getting tangled in these floating death traps.
The charity said the video and pictures Morgan captures will be invaluable in helping raise awareness of these problems and inspiring more people to support future conservation measures.