"Injured sea turtles recovering at the Lampedusa Turtle Rescue have to be monitored 24 hours a day. To support this important work, Hikvision has contributed a video system that helps the staff and volunteers to track their recovery," says Maurizio Coates from Hikvision Italy.
The worrying trend of sea-turtle decline
For hundreds of years, sea turtles have been captured and killed for their eggs, meat, skin, and shells – causing numbers to fall to critical levels. Today, they are also at risk from industrialized fishing techniques, which result in accidental capture of turtles – often known as bycatch – and from climate change and urbanization, which are negatively impacting traditional nesting sites and hindering turtle reproduction.
As a result of all of these human-caused risks, sea turtle populations have declined rapidly. Today, six out of the seven sea turtle species are endangered according to the WWF, with three species on the 'critically endangered' list.
"Human activities result in extreme risks for sea turtles. Fishing, pollution and ship traffic are the most common threats."
Daniela Freggi, Biologist and Founder of the Rescue Center for Sea Turtles at Lampedusa, Italy.
Global and local conservation means there's still hope
Thanks to conservation efforts by NGOs around the world, there is still hope that sea turtle populations can recover and thrive long term.
One example of an organization that is working to protect the species is the Lampedusa Turtle Rescue in Italy. The center was set up 20 years ago by Biologist Daniela Freggi and is managed by the Caretta Caretta Association.
The rescue center aids and treats around 100 injured turtles a year, most caught accidently by fishing boats – either with longline hooks or trawling nets. To support the turtles' recovery, the center is equipped with an intensive care unit, an operating room, radiography and ultrasound equipment, and an outpatient 'clinic'.
The center attracted volunteers from Italy and overseas, who study and monitor sea turtles, care for injured turtles, and educate tourists and community members about how to look after and protect them.
Supporting the Rescue Center with smart video technology
To support the work of Lampedusa Turtle Rescue, and to help volunteers care for injured turtles 24x7, Hikvision has contributed eight fixed bullet cameras and four outdoor dome cameras. These devices record recovering turtles in a series of 'convalescence' tanks, helping to monitor their recovery more effectively.
In particular, high-definition video footage from the Hikvision cameras helps volunteers to gauge turtles' recovery based on their ability to respond to stimuli – such as movement towards light. Footage is also analyzed by research institutions to support sea-turtle research and to inform more effective conservation strategies going forwards.
As an additional benefit, video images from the Hikvision cameras can be shared with research partners, NGOs, and local communities to raise awareness of the risks facing sea turtles, and to garner additional awareness and support for the center and its important work.
"Scientific detection tools allow us to carry out our studies in a precise and accurate way, with significant positive impacts for this species, and for the natural environment," says Dr. Freggi. "The images disseminated via social media are also expected to raise awareness for us," she adds.
Massimiliano Troilo, General Manager of Hikvision Italy, says, "Hikvision aims to make the world a safer place to live for everyone. This important project for turtle protection has been successfully operating in Lampedusa since 1990. We are proud to put our technology at the service of scientific research, and the recovery of endangered species. It could also help in the recovery of coastal environments."
Helping to protect vulnerable wildlife worldwide
Hikvision technology has been deployed in environmental applications for years, especially to protect precious wildlife species. To find out more about our environmental protection solutions and the value they can deliver for conservation, please read our previous blog posts on protecting the bar-headed goose, the Yangtze finless porpoise, the Amur tiger, and the African penguin.
You can also read more about our commitments to environmental and social sustainability and good governance in our ESG Report, or you can contact us for more information at GLOBALPR@hikvision.com.