Marine biologist gives inspirational talk to Chester business women

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Lobsters, seahorses and a famous sea turtle was the ‘chat of the day’ during a women’s networking event.

The West Cheshire Womens Network held its second event of the year on Thursday, June 29.

These highly popular and well attended networking events are held quarterly throughout the year and provide the opportunity to network and create strong business connections with other businesswomen from across the region.

June’s inspirational speaker was Frankie Hobro owner and director of Anglesey Sea Zoo.

Anglesey Sea Zoo is a unique aquarium displaying the best of British marine wildlife, based in Anglesey, North Wales.

The Sea Zoo runs an education and conversation program aiming to educate others on the importance of conversation of sea life.

Frankie spoke in depth about the conservation programme at the sea zoo and her ‘chance meeting’ with Menai.

Menai is an Olive Ridley turtle, and is the first of her kind ever to be found on UK shores since records began in 1748.

On November 12th 2016, Menai was found on the beach in Brynsiencyn at the bottom of the sea zoo’s drive.

“She was barely alive when we found her, she had a lot of issues, she had lost a lot of weight, was dehydrated and hadn’t been feeding,” said Frankie, a marine biologist.

“She wasn’t used to our cold waters of 6C, she is used to swimming in water of 26C, so her whole system shut down, almost in a coma, a human wouldn’t have survived.”

Barely alive and 6000km from her home waters of South America, Menai needed help and fast.

Menai was kept in quarantine facilities at the sea zoo whilst undergoing rehabilitation; with staff raising her body temperature by 1C a day, re-introducing food, improving her buoyance and slowly increasing her water depth.

Menai’s rehabilitation proved costly - around £10,000, but thanks to money raised by the local community, national organisations, a crowdfunding page and specialised turtle conservation visits the majority of this cost was met.

“Menai has expensive taste too, calamari was her favourite, costing around £300 a month,” added Frankie.

In June Frankie and her team flew Menai to Gran Canaria where she will be further rehabilitated in a wild sea water tank before being permanently released back into the wild.

“It was an emotional moment leaving Menai, but it will be harder when we return in a few months to permanently release her,” said Frankie, who is planning to use satellite technology to track Menai’s movements and progress.

Menai’s tale has caught a lot of headlines and has been a regular in the local and national papers as well as appearance on the BBC and ITV News.

Since arriving in Anglesey Menai has been followed by a documentary crew, local film company Chwarel.

The BBC Natural History Unit are now paying commission for the documentary which is funding the flights for film crew and the satellite tag for Menai when she is released.

The documentary is due to air sometime next year.

Founded in 2013, the West Cheshire Womens Business Network provides an opportunity for businesswomen to come together.

Co-hosted by Natwest Bank Plc, Ellis & Co Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers, West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce and Cheshire West and Chester Council; the group meet four times a year with a different guest speaker at every event.  

“This was our second event of the year and it was very well attended,” said Natalie Tomlinson, PR & Marketing manager at Ellis & Co. 

“Frankie gave a very interesting and informative talk, the rehabilitation of Menai is proof of the tremendous job she and her team undertake at the sea zoo.”

The next West Cheshire Womens Network event will be held on Thursday, September 14 (9.30am – 11.30am) at The Holiday Inn Chester South.

Events are free but attendance must be registered, for further details click here

Further pictures from the event can be found on our Facebook page