Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Giant green sea turtle conservation!

One of the major high light of the trip over all was our visit to Turtle island off the east coast of Sabah. This is one of the nesting sights for giant green sea turtles. They are considered 'threatened' by the IUCN, so there is a big conservation effort going on.
Every single egg laid on the island is collected as they are being laid. It's not hard to collect the eggs because the mother laying the eggs goes into a sort of trance when she is laying, making her oblivious to anything around her. The eggs are then taken to an incubator, this is simply a protected area of sand where they are reburied and marked. The mother is measured and recorded, if she isn't already tagged they tag her. She then returns to the sea completely oblivious to the eggs no longer being in the hole she buried them in and not to return for 2 years. Once the turtles hatch they are released directly into the wild. The night we were there, over 1000 eggs were collected.
HOWEVER a scientist put trackers on 1000 baby turtles and by the time they got to the feeding grounds about 10 years later only 3 were alive, that's 99.97% of all babies die before they reach sexual maturity. This is a common technique for carrying on the species, either animals have few babies and take very good care of them or have lots and hope that a few survive to carry on the species.
Now although we are partly responsible for this huge number of deaths we must remember that the babies are very small, so are easy prey for most large carnivorous sea creatures. But we are still partly responsible. They are killed by:
  • Pollution.
  • Eating plastic bags (their diet is mainly jelly fish so an easy mistake).
  • Trapped in fishing nets.
  • Killed by propeller blades.
  • Hunted for shells and other components.
  • Eggs used in chinese medicine.
So as a result of all of this the turtle laying sights are now so protected there is a military presence on the island (they're also there to stop Philippino illegal immigration). There are also very strict regulations such as; you're not aloud on the beach after sun set and before 6 am and you're not aloud to take photos while on the island but you can buy them.

Oh and 1 other thing, i'm no bunny hugger but, baby turtles are the sweetest little creatures in the world.

3 comments:

  1. What is the IUCN please? much love M (I'm 'doing a dunk' here, whoever they are they probably have a wiki page)

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  2. Hello,

    Do you know where to find different chinese medecine as Snake wine ? I already own this one:
    http://www.asiansnakewine.com

    But looking for different types of natural medecine.
    Thanks for help.

    (by the way I found your website on Google when looking for Snake wine bottles)

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  3. that's a truly disgusting thing to ask me and i do believe it's very illegal!!
    why the hell would you ask me that?? i'm a animal rights protector not whatever it is you think i am!!!!!
    using animals in medicine and wine and the such like is horrible and i don't agree with it at all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete