The Town Hall of Torrevieja has published a summary of the 2014 program to rescue and treat the animals washed up onto the coast in the municipality, including the fact that only two dead sea mammals appeared over the twelve months. These were a striped dolphin which appeared on the beach of La Mata and a bottlenose dolphin on the Playa de los Locos.
During the year there were also numerous sightings of dolphins offshore, no doubt as a result of their congregating to take advantage of the new feeding grounds which have come into being as a result of the activities of fish farming concerns in the southern Costa Blanca and the Costa Cálida.
Other dead animals found on the coast of Torrevieja included four loggerhead sea turtles, although on a happier note two more turtles were rescued alive. One of these was found during the Copa Europa sailing regatta in the bay on Palm Sunday, and the other in Cala La Higuera at dusk on 25th July. Both animals were taken to the Arca del Mar centre in Valencia, and while the first was released into the wild after a two-month recovery period the second, named “Habaneras” in recognition of the fact that it was found during the Habaneras song festival, is still receiving treatment in the regional capital. Habaneras required extensive surgery after being injured by the propeller of a boat.
Other fortunate beneficiaries of the Torrevieja program were five Audouin’s gulls, one young black-headed gull and an adult cormorant, all of which made good recoveries at the Santa Faz wildlife recovery centre in Alicante. The natural park of the Lagunas de La Mata y Torrevieja is an important breeding ground for these bird species, and many of the chicks end up on the beaches and in public parks after their first flights. Others, however, are washed up onto the beach after unfortunate encounters with fishing lines and hooks.
The network which coordinates the rescue and removal of wildlife from Torrevieja’s beaches includes not only the Town Hall but also private companies, the Red Cross and the company which runs the municipal beach bars in summer, as well as local fishermen, the marina and members of the public.
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