So apparently it is world turtle day today and I couldn’t resist to write a short post about marine turtles. They hold a very special place in my heart. One time when I had a chance to witness the turtles nesting and tiny juveniles hatching I couldn’t contain my emotions and simply burst into tears, amazed by the beauty of our planet.
There are seven species of sea turtles and six of those are threatened or endangered.
The threats to the turtles include: bycatch (accidental capture and entanglement in fishing gear) the loss of nesting and feeding sites to coastal development, poaching, and pollution including plastic.
The Watamu Turtle Watch is not obly a rehabilitation centre, but also a community hub and a place that helps educates the public. Outreach and education are crucial in conservation.
At Ascension Island in the middle of the Atlantic I had the opportunity to witness green turtles nesting. Together with a marine biologist Daniel Moore, we went to the Long Beach and saw over 30 female turtles emerge from the water that night to lay eggs. We were equipped in red headlamps, which do not disturb the turtles. Once the female find its preferred spot (it cannot have any trash of light pollution) it digs a hole and starts laying eggs. It then enters a trans and you can even take flash photography, since the turtles won’t be disturbed at that stage (though I still only took two photos).
There are many incredibly dedicated and hard working people who want to protect sea turtles.
Some of those I had a chance to meet and if you want to learn more, here are the links to the projects they set up: