A vet has swapped the Herefordshire countryside for the Maldives as part of a far-reaching project to help save the endangered sea turtle.
Alex McGhee, business intelligence manager at Linnaeus, has flown 5,500 miles to take up a role as data lead for the Sea Turtle Alliance (STRA), where he will apply data science to help local vets care for the ancient reptiles. STRA is an interactive global network dedicated to sea turtle veterinarians, rescue and rehabilitation centres, funded by swiss NGO, OceanCare.
Six of the seven species of sea turtles are endangered due to human behaviour, with many the victims of poachers and killed for their shells, eggs and meat. They are also adversely affected by the increasing volumes of plastic waste in the sea.
Alex is working with the Olive Ridley Project, a Maldives-based organisation founded in 2013 to protect sea turtles and their habitat, and is setting it up with practice management software. This will enable vets to properly capture clinical records, which are currently kept on a spreadsheet, and help them to track and care for sea turtles over a longer period of time.
If this pilot scheme works well, there is the potential for it to be rolled out in other locations.
Alex said: “The aim is two-fold – to build up knowledge and to help put experienced vets in touch with the centres which need their help. We’ll be setting up the software, making sure the vets can operate it and then adding all their existing data to it. We’re giving them a powerful tool to capture clinical records and manage turtles over a long period of time.”
In his day job, Alex leads a team of business intelligence engineers and analysts, taking data from across the Linnaeus businesses and providing insights in areas such as finance, people and VetSafe, a clinical significant event reporting platform. Previous to this, he was a vet at a mixed practice in Devon.
“There are lots of vets in different centres across the world who work with sea turtles and the work of the Sea Turtle Alliance is about connecting those different vets around the world,” added Alex. “These valuable creatures are hugely important to marine ecosystems and have travelled our seas for the last 100 million years, so I’m delighted to be able to play a part in their conservation.”
For more information on the Sea Turtle Rescue Alliance, visit https://seaturtlerescuealliance.org.
For more information on the Olive Ridley Project, visit https://oliveridleyproject.org.