Submitted by GSPCA on 11:59, 23rd May, 2013 | 0

Today is World Turtle Day and the GSPCA is remembering this by reflecting on a Green Turtle the Animal Shelter rescued 10 years ago this year.

On the 13th January 2003 a live Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) was stranded on the west coast of Guernsey.

Elliot Green and his son who were playing football and Mary Harrison discovered a turtle that afternoon on Grandes Roques Beach and reported it to the Animal Shelter.

Geoff George Animal Collection Officer and Yvonne Chauvel Senior Animal Care Assistant who both still work at the Shelter collected the turtle who was suffering from hypothermia, and after it had been treated by veterinarian John Knight BVetMed, MRCVS transported it to the Guernsey Aquarium in St. Peter Port.

Green Turtles can grow up to 5 feet (153cm) in length and weigh up to 452 lbs (205 kg).  Myrtle (also known as GT1) as Shelter staff named the Green Turtle found in 2003 was 75cm long and 68cm wide. 

Myrtle was found where our ambient sea temperatures at that time are only 9C but they live in waters where they are normally 20C.  Their normal range is the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans where they are found in warm tropical waters from New England to South Africa and from Western Africa to the Americas.  It is extremely unusual to see Green Turtles around the British Isles and therefore when Myrtle arrived a plan to get her back to where she belonged had to begin.

During the Spring of 2003 Myrtle was declared fit enough to travel and was transported to a special rehabilitation centre in Gran Canaria and thanks at the time went to the Guernsey Aquarium, Vet John Knight, Specsavers 9who kindly loaned their new at the time Kingair 350), Tom Scott, Mary Harrison, the Marine and section and all of  those involved at the time.

A special thanks at the time went to Rod Penrose of Marine Environmental Monitoring in the UK and Peter Richardson from the Marine Conservation Society who flew over at the time and of course Pascual Calabuig and his team at the rehabilitation centre.

Before Myrtle was released a lot of data was collected and samples of DNA.  She was even microchipped and was finally released on the 4th April 2003 off the coast of Gran Canaria.

Yvonne Chauvel Senior Animal Care Assistant said today ‘It was wonderful to rescue Myrtle over 10 years ago although when we were on route we thought it was going to be a seal pup.’

‘It is rare to get to see them in the wild let alone rescue one and my hope is that she is still out there somewhere.’

Geoff George Animal Collection Officer said ‘Green Turtles can live for up to 80 to 100 years that we know of so there is a chance she could still be out there and more importantly breeding.’

‘We rescue a lot of marine life and just this week we have released a Razorbill and a Cormorant, not to mention the two Grey Seal Pups last month.

‘It is the most rewarding part of the job seeing these wild animals returned to where they belong.’

If you would like to help sponsor the work of the Shelter please check this link by clicking here.

John Knight vet with the Green Turtle rescued by the GSPCA Animal Shelter in Guernsey before being returned to Gran CanariaJohn Knight vet and Ian Power with Myrtle the Green Turtle rescued by the GSPCA Animal Shelter in Guernsey before being returned to Gran CanariaJayne Le Cras Director of Operations at the GSPCA in 2003 and Pascual Calabuig from the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre with Myrtle the Green Turtle rescued by the GSPCA Animal Shelter in Guernsey before being released in Gran Canaria

Here are some links to those that helped the GSPCA at the time -


Have you liked us on facebook yet or joined us on twitter?

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To see the story of Jethou Bumblebee the grey seal pup please check out this short video from start to finish on how staff rescued him with a lot of help.

To see the story of Hanois and his rescue please go to

There are many items on the GSPCA's Wish List and you can see many of them by clicking here including a list of Amazon items which would make a difference to animals in Guernsey.

To download our latest newsletter or become a member of the GSPCA please

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The following are events planned for 2013

Every Tuesday during term time between 10.30am and 12pm at the GSPCA we have a coffee morning with bric-a-brac and pet supplies on sale.  Please click here for more details

Clinton's Kilimanjaro Climb in March - One man VS 5,895 m - to find out more please click here for more details

Sunday 2nd June 2013 - Summer Fayre and Dog Show - please click here for more details

Wednesday 5th June 6.30pm - Volunteer Induction Evening - to find out more please click here.

Saturday 8th June 2013 Itex Walk Guernsey - We are pleased that for 2013 we are one of the nominated charities benefiting from this years walk. To register and find out more click here for more details and sponsor those taking part.

Sunday 15th September 2013 - Animal Welfare Seafront Sunday - click here for more details.

4th October - World Animal Day - more details to follow


Fancy doing a sponsored event for the GSPCA?  To download a GSPCA Sponsor form please

Download a GSPCA Sponsorship Form


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