Guernsey charity at 'loggerheads' with post-Brexit paperwork needed to get turtle home

Barnacle Bill is a loggerhead turtle, a species currently on the world's endangered list. Credit: ITV Channel

An animal charity in Guernsey is facing challenges trying to return an endangered turtle to its native home of Gran Canaria.

The loggerhead turtle, which been named Barnacle Bill by staff at the GSPCA, washed up on the island's west coast in November following bad weather.

As the animal is on the endangered list, it needs export and import paperwork before it can be moved.

Two of the three documents have been signed by officials in Guernsey but the charity is still waiting for the Spanish government to provide import forms.

GSPCA manager Steve Byrne says there are different processes in place now: "Because we're now outside the EU [European Union], whereas we weren't before when we moved turtles, we may have to go via Madrid or another city in Europe for quarantine purposes.

"We may have to do extra tests on Barnacle Bill and future turtles, which we haven't previously had to do."

A local company has offered to fly Bill home on a private jet but there is still a question mark over whether she can be flown directly to Gran Canaria because of post-Brexit red tape.

Guy Derooy owns the plane and has seen many things change recently: "[Guernsey] is now classed as a third country island as we're outside of the EU. All the forms and formalities have got much harder.

"The poor turtle washed up back in November, it's now March. We're just keen to get him back to where he belongs."

Barnacle Bill was very cold when she was first found but is now doing much better. Credit: GSPCA

It would be the first time Guy and his team have transported an animal and he was persuaded to do so by one of his employees.

Lynsey Stanton has a fondness for animals like Bill: "I swam with turtles in Barbados and absolutely loved them. I heard the loggerheads are on the endangered list so it's really important to help get her back to her natural habitat."

ITV News has approached the Spanish government for a response.