Morgan Yates, aged 14, from Poling, Brighton is in the tropical islands on a mission for Brighton Sea Life Centre and charity The Sea Life Trust.
Having won a competition to be Sea Life’s junior sea turtle ambassador, she flew out with her family and Trust head Andy Bool to investigate the work of a sea turtle conservation group the Olive Ridley Project…which runs a turtle rescue centre there.
One of the patients is an Olive Ridley turtle who lost two flippers as a result of entanglement in drifting fishing net…and which staff had coincidentally christened ‘Morgan.’
The Sea Life Trust is sponsoring the Olive Ridley Project’s work, which also includes clearing as much deadly ‘ghost netting’ as possible from Maldive seas.
More than 300 Olive Ridley turtles have ended up fouled in these floating death traps since 2011.
In her junior ambassador role, Anmering High School pupil Morgan has already made a short sea turtle conservation video for Sea Life social media, and raised money for the Sea Life Trust with a cake sale.
Now she is working with Andy Bool and Brighton Sea Life’s Olivia Cottrell on another short film about the ORP’s work, but the highlight of her mission so far has definitely been meeting Morgan the turtle.
“She is a really beautiful turtle and has recovered really well from her injuries,” she said. “She wouldn’t survive back in the sea so Sea Life is hoping to give her a good home at one of their centres in Scotland. If that happens I will definitely be going to visit her there,” she added.
Morgan was also able to help staff at the ORP release some of their fully recovered turtle patients, which she said was an ‘amazing experience.’
The Sea Life Trust raises around £300,000 annually to fund marine conservation projects across the world, and has a special focus on turtle conservation. All seven species of sea turtles are endangered.