Twenty-six freshwater turtles from the "Oued Chiba" dam in Nabeul (North-East of Tunisia), reported to be in distress due to the drought, have just been rescued and taken to a natural water source close to the dam.
The rescue operation was carried out on Saturday by a team of researchers from the National Institute of Marine Sciences and Technologies (INSTM), officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries and members of the Maamoura Coast Protection Association (APLM).
"These turtles belong to the Emyde leprosa species found in the Mediterranean basin countries. This species has been classified by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as vulnerable at the European level, insofar as it has almost disappeared in this region of the world," APLM member Mohamed El Benney explained in a statement to TAP.
"Most of the turtles of this species are now found in Tunisia. However, they are still threatened with endangerment due to climate change, which has led to the drying up of dams in the country. In fact, ten turtles have perished and could not be saved," he regretted.
A species vital to the balance of ecosystems
Mohamed El Benney added that the authorities as well as the INSTM experts and the members of his association will continue to ensure a scientific and technical follow-up in order to preserve this species which is "vital to the balance of nature," as it holds a predominant place in the food chain.
Tunisia is going through its 4th year of drought. The national dam filling rate did not exceed 30% from September 1, 2022 to April 28, 2023, according to the National Observatory of Agriculture (ONAGRI).
Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse