The Italian Almanac

loggerhead turtle

Italian News - December 1

A 12-year-old turtle is to be awarded honorary citizenship of Brancaleone, a seaside resort in southwest Italy, after being saved from near death by locals. The loggerhead sea turtle, named Golia (Goliath), was rescued at the start of September off the coast of Brancaleone, a Calabrian town on the toe of Italy's 'boot'. A swimmer spotted the turtle stuck on a reef ten meters underwater and reported the animal's condition to local authorities.

"Golia was in an extremely serious condition when he was found," said the biologist Domenico Morabito, who heads Brancaleone's Sea Turtle Rescue Centre. "If he had been found and reported just ten minutes later, he would certainly have died". Golia, who is 60 cm long and now weighs a healthy 15 kilos, was starving when he was first fished from the water. He had swallowed an entire trawl line, which Morabito believes he had probably been trapped in, and had floated around the sea for some time unable to eat or swallow.

"He is now well again and able to swim, and will soon be released back into the wild," said Morabito. But before Golia swims off into the sunset, local authorities have decided to award him the keys to the town, in a ceremony taking place this Saturday. Calabrian Environment Councillor Diego Tommasi explained the move formed part of a push to raise awareness over the plight of loggerhead turtles, as well as efforts by the regional government to protect local flora and fauna.