Guernsey Press

Barnacle Bill offered private jet ride to ‘where she belongs’

Barnacle Bill could be headed to Cape Verde within a few weeks, instead of the Canary Islands after a long delay in the Spanish authorities’ approval of Cites paperwork.

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Loggerhead turtle Barnacle Bill in her tank at the animal shelter. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 33148049)

The loggerhead turtle was found at the start of November, covered in barnacles and underweight. She has been recovering since being taken in by the GSPCA, but is still awaiting a return to the sea.

GSPCA manager Steve Byrne said he had met with the pilot and owner of a private jet who has offered to fly Barnacle Bill to wherever she may need to go.

‘The owner of the jet is very kindly going to fly Barnacle Bill at no cost to us to her new home. We don’t know exactly where that will be yet, it could be the Canary Islands or it could be Cape Verde,’ said Mr Byrne.

He said that during the meeting, the jet owner had said that he had just returned from a holiday in Cape Verde and offered to take the turtle there instead. Mr Byrne looked into the area and deemed it fitting.

‘He has offered to fly her directly in one go and Cape Verde is still in the same area where she should be. It’s just opened up another opportunity for her to be where she belongs.’

‘They’re also outside of the EU, which is the main hurdle we’re facing with the Canary Islands as they are within the EU. It will be more straightforward for her to go to Cape Verde,’ he said.

He said that Barnacle Bill had recently been put into a bigger tank as she is growing, and had outgrown the original tank during her six months under the animal shelter’s care.

The Cites permit system helps regulate the transportation and trade in rare species. More than 40,900 species – including roughly 6,610 species of animals and 34,310 species of plants – are protected by Cites against over-exploitation through international trade.

Loggerhead turtles are the most common turtle in the Mediterranean, nesting on beaches from Greece and Turkey to Israel and Libya.

But they are vulnerable, as they are at risk of being caught in fishing gear.

Many of their nesting beaches are also under threat from tourism development.