Loggerhead sea turtles frequently get caught in fishing lines. (Photo: Shutterstock)
When professional kitesurfer Mitu Monteiro spotted something odd floating in the water off Sal Island in Cape Verde, Africa, he had to investigate — despite the danger. Only days earlier, two fisherman had disappeared near the dangerous, rock-strewn surf he was now moving towards. Upon closer examination, he discovered a distressed loggerhead sea turtle completely entangled in fishing line. The species, considered endangered around the world, has been decimated by fishing gear from industrial fisheries.
"I know it would have died if I didn’t rescue it," Monteiro told Caters News Agency. "She was unable to get food as the filament was preventing her from diving and it was wound tightly around her neck."
Carefully avoiding the pounding surf, Monteiro hoisted the turtle onto his kiteboard and paddled back to shore. There, he was joined by other surfers who helped to cut away some of the line.
As noted by the World Wildlife Fund, hundreds of thousands of sea turtles each year get caught in fishing lines and often drown. Surfers and recreational boaters often come across the turtles as they struggle to break the surface for air. Recent videos like the ones below are just a few of the touching examples of how people are going out of their way to lend a hand.
The WWF is working with fisheries to reduce instances of sea turtles falling victim to longlines and gillnets, as well as advancing technology that allows tangled turtles to break free. To learn more about the threats faced by loggerheads and how to help, hit their official site here.