A young vet has landed the job of a lifetime running a hospital for turtles on a tropical island.
Dr Claire Lomas, 25, felt she had ‘little hope’ when she applied for the job at the Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu in the Maldives while working at a more traditional veterinary practice.
But her dream quickly turned to reality when she was interviewed for the role – before flying out to take out her new position in August 2017.
Now Claire, from Rhos-on-Sea, North Wales, spends her days caring for injured or sick turtles who have been recovered from ‘ghost gear’ – abandoned fishing nets dumped in the ocean.
She said many are missing flippers or require amputations because of the wounds caused by trying to escape the netting.
Claire said: ‘When I saw the advert for the job in the Maldives it was an absolute dream that combined all of my passions; veterinary medicine, conservation and marine life – a job I never knew existed.
‘I applied with great enthusiasm but little hope. I was absolutely elated to be interviewed and in the end, was given the opportunity of a lifetime.
‘I find it so rewarding to be able to release the turtles back to the ocean.
‘There have been some memorable cases that came in very injured and sick, but with time and treatment became really healthy strong turtles.
‘It’s incredible to feel like you’ve made a difference in that turtle’s life and been a small part of the bigger task of turtle conservation.
‘The abandoned nets are a huge problem in our oceans and we help the turtles that are victims to these nets.
‘They are often missing flippers or require amputations from the damage caused by the nets, as they just keep swimming against the nets as they try to escape which deeply wounds them.’
Claire, who has been living and working in the Maldives for 18 months said that life in the tiny island nation is a world away from that in the UK.
She has so far saved around 80 turtles and provides surgery to those who become seriously injured after being caught up in abandoned fishing nets.
Claire said she often misses coffee shops and the ability to go and see a movie.
She added: ‘However, I wouldn’t swap that for the ability to just jump in the ocean at any point and living barefoot.
‘Then there are unique parts of living here, for example, I have to take a seaplane to the capital if I need to visit the bank.’
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