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Daniela Freggi

“I am a biologist and all my life has been dedicated to Sea Turtle conservation and care. I am the fonder and director of the Sea Turtle Rescue Center in Lampedusa, where about 100 turtles are rescued each year.”

I work close with fishermen and try to involve them in the protection of the Sea and it´s creatures.

Every year we perform about 60 surgeries, we host about 20 thousand visitors, developing educational programs, and we are supported by about 50 students and volunteers from different Countries.

I grew up in a family and we would travel a lot, since my mother was french, my father was a pilot. So, we moved and lived in many different Countries. I believe this opportunity, hard when You are a child, but precious for an open mind development, gave me the possibility to discover how marvelous our planet is. I love the Oceans in a special way, as they represent our origin, source and future… the sound of waves, the special smell of sea water always give me a deep peace and joy.

Photo by Naja Bertolt Jensen

I chose to study biology science and one of my teachers was the first scientists working on Sea Turtle Conservation in Italy.

Some decades ago, this represented a complex challenge, as fishermen considered Sea Turtles competitors with what they were accustomed to consider their property.

The University organized various research plans in south Italy, where nesting activity was registered.

After some experience in different departments, I arrived in Lampedusa Island: the situation was awful. Turtles were killed or left to die in the Sea. So I decided to realize a Rescue Center.

It has been a real battle, but I have been supported by many volunteers coming from different parts of the world.

In 30 years many things have changed, and now fishermen are more aware, and also a few of them cooperate in the rescue activities, - most of them stopped killing Sea Turtles and other creatures in the sea!

I probably decided to dedicate my life to the protection of Sea Turtles as I feel, in general, animals are the most vulnerable, they are often considered, by the majority of the humanity, something to be used, and not respected as individuals with lives of their own.

It seems natural to protect children, elder people, sick people, communities affected by wars or disaster… but animals are still considered something useful to us, without soul and feelings.

Sea Turtles live alone, they fight in the middle of Oceans for their future, they migrate for miles, - they never give up.

Sea Turtles represents the freedom and the global view of our world…

And they also represent the deepest feelings and values, on which I have based all my life : freedom, independence, resistance, resilience.

Photo by Naja Bertolt Jensen

My days are full of different activities: we need to sensibilize fishermen to the protection of seas and Sea Turtles, so every day we try to spend time with them; we need to take care of our Sea Turtle patients, with therapies and food, cleaning tanks and keep their behaviour under control; we need to clean and maintain the Rescue Center, to keep the administrative duties in order, to find solutions for our need of economic support. I have to take care of the volunteers, most of them are students from different Countries of the world, supporting them in their researches.

During the summer season, we do sen-sibilization for the visitors, more than 25 thousands every summer, and we realize denotative tours. Some nights I’m in the harbour, as fishermen generally decharge their fish at that time, and it is the opportunity to save some Turtles. We cooperate with some scientific institutions, and for them I collect data and samples.

Also, for many Years, I have been cooperating with the incredible passionate Scientist Prof. Antonio Di Bello of the Vet Dept of Bari University. The best and most innovative surgeon of Sea Turtles, - and his support has been very precious to me…

Photo by Naja Bertolt Jensen

All what was done in these 30 years was possible thanks to the many volunteers and students supporting our Association Caretta Caretta, that is in charge of our Rescue Center.

We are a little group of passionated people, without any financial support - but we don’t give up!

Since 2018, we also take care of a little rescue center for wild animals in danger in Cattolica Eraclea, a little village of south Sicily.

Yet another challenge, but animals risk so much, and we can’t just close our eyes.

The youth that comes to support our activities in the Rescue Center is something that motivates me to continue.

To see the world through their eyes, gives me the desire to endure!

But also for all the Sea Turtles that we were not able to save: they deserve we continue our efforts, and transform their actual pain into a warning, to find a more sustainable way to live all together in peace and respect.

Photo by Claus Jensen

“We need to work hard on ourselves and discover the real value of life.

It isn’t what You have that gives You joy and peace, but what You are.

We need to remind young people that egoism, cruelty, passivity destroys many lives, - including humanity, - as we are part of a connected world.

What You do, will always come back to You…

We have all the technologies and the clever minds to realize a more equitable and sustainable world, - but we need a more prepared politic class in every Nation and Institution!”


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