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Asinara Park

Sea Observatory of Asinara National Park and Marine Protected Area at Cala Reale

Marine Animal Recovery Center and the Observatory.

The Sea Observatory came into operation in July 2012 after restoration and rehabilitation works on the entire building and with the functional distribution of spaces for the new use of the Former Lightshipmen’s House, as well as the rehabilitation of the surrounding areas and the execution of some works at sea. The structure, built in the first decade of the 1900s with a destination of “accommodation of the lanternmen” in the employ of the Ministry of the Navy, located about 600 meters from Cala della Reale in the direction of Fornelli, was intended as an “Observatory” to allow visitors to the Marine Protected Area and Asinara National Park, to be able to get closer to the marine world with the creation of a structure, part of the Asinara Environmental Education Network, within which is housed, the Marine Animal Recovery Center of the Asinara National Park and AMP “Asinara Island.”

In addition, among the different objectives

that the Sea Observatory there are those of management and enhancement of the marine environment, dissemination of knowledge and vocational training in marine fisheries, as well as promotion of educational activities and research on the sea.

The building is structured on three levels:

Marine Animal Recovery Center. The facility is located on the ground floor of the building. The Asinara Center, was first launched in 2004, and was located in the southern part of the island, in the structure called “former guardhouse” in the Fornelli locality, near the pier of the same name. The project is made possible through the European Commission’s Life Natura program and involves as many as 30 partners, led by CTS Ambiente, with the specific intent of pursuing a major national initiative for the conservation of the loggerhead sea turtle Caretta caretta, the most common turtle in the Mediterranean. The Project was called Tartanet, a large net, stretched by many hands, to save sea turtles.

In addition to the recovery and care of accidentally captured specimens, the Center is also involved in monitoring nesting sites and monitoring and studying other species, including small cetaceans and sharks.

The Center, employs an operational staff consisting of a manager, a veterinarian who is in charge of Health Management, and a technical worker, who have undergone specific training courses. The technical structure of the Marine Protected Area “Asinara Island” is also involved in the management of the center.

The Recovery Center is equipped with a veterinary room (complete with operating room, X-ray and darkroom equipment and all specialized laboratory equipment); two rooms equipped with modular tanks for the hospitalization of animals that are injured or in need of care, one of which is not accessible to visitors so that the suffering animals do not suffer additional stress. All tanks are equipped with a seawater filtration and purification system.

In most cases, hospitalized turtles are severely injured due to impact with fishing tools or boats, or debilitated and undernourished due to unfavorable environmental factors. It has become necessary to rehabilitate the animal before they can be returned to the wild in areas suitable for their survival, and this sometimes involves tank stays of several months. This led to the need to identify a stretch of sea that could serve as an area for a rehabilitation of Caretta caretta individuals to the marine environment after their stay in the tank. The stretch of sea identified for this purpose is the one in front of the facility at the pier of the same name and has an area of 485 square meters and is about 100 meters from the designated premises. Such a stretch of sea is renamed “Turtle Bay.”

The Observatory is part of the Network for the Recovery and Care of Marine Fauna in Distress. The project came about thanks to the collaboration of the Nature Protection Service of the Environmental Defense Department of the Autonomous Region of Sardinia, which together with the Marine Protected Areas of Sardinia and the two National Parks.