Sea turtle 911
World Ocean Day Programme 2015
Five Rescued Sea Turtles Released on World Oceans Day
Sanya, Hainan – on Monday 8th June, in conjunction with World Ocean Day, a large-scale event was held on Hainan island, China, in order to raise awareness throughout the country about environmental issues affecting oceans. The event aimed to promote the understanding of marine conservation and raise awareness for the plight of sea turtles.
The World Oceans Day event received a great response from the island’s tourism industry, with more than fifty tourism enterprises participating. This is the first time that there has been such a collective event and response. “We share the clean beaches and blue oceans that make Hainan beautiful, so every business, citizen, and tourist should protect and care for it as you do for your own eyes,” said Wolfgang Boettcher, Area Managing Director of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Hainan.
During this special day, five green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) that had been treated for injuries and illnesses were released back into the ocean after successful rehabilitation at the Sea Turtles 911 hospital. Each sea turtle was released at a different bay around Hainan island, to maximize public awareness for ocean conservation. At each location, following an educational talk that explained the importance of sea turtles as natural protectors of our oceans, people gathered to watch the turtles being released back into the ocean. “The emotional experience of watching a sea turtle swim for freedom back to nature reminds us that we are all connected to the vast ocean expanse, and thus have the responsibility to protect them for our future generations,” said Frederick Yeh, Founder of Sea Turtles 911. The excitement was clear as the turtles were carried down to the water and the crowds cheered as the endangered animals began to swim out and away.
Rescued turtle named “Yalong” was released from the beach of the MGM Grand Hotel; turtle named “Qingshui” was released from the beach of the Raffles Hotel; turtle named “Haitang” was released from the beach of the Westin Hotel; turtle named “Shimei” was released from the beach of Le Meridien Hotel; and finally, turtle named “Sanya” was released from the beach of the Howard Johnson Hotel. Upon returning to the ocean, the rescued turtles will be able to continue maintaining the natural ecosystem of the island, as they primarily feed on jellyfish and sea grass, which allows other marine flora and fauna to thrive.
Whilst once there was an abundance of sea turtles around Hainan Island, now all species are endangered. Currently, turtles face threats due to marine pollution, besides being prized by poachers not only for their meat, but also because their shells are used to make jewelry and ornaments. This constitutes a disreputable waste of valuable life and it is essential to change these practices if these species are to survive for future generations. Sea Turtles 911 works throughout the year with hotels such as the Ritz-Carlton, in order to coordinate rescue and release activities to raise conservation awareness. The organization hopes that involvement from the general public will promote more support in the cause, as human apathy has brought these majestic animals to near extinction.
Sea turtles have existed on this planet for tens of millions of years, making them some of the oldest species alive today. Along comes mankind, superiorly intelligent, civilized, and insolent. We have hunted and killed these magnificent sentient beings, for a mere meal or some material object made from their bodies – or the cash to be made thereby – which we savagely and ignorantly treasured above their life, above their very existence. With nonchalance we have recklessly polluted and developed the delicate ecosystem which is their home.
With brutally idle apathy we have turned a blind eye to their tragic plight. Today, because of our ignorance and carelessness, these beautiful creatures are nearing extinction. Today, we must salvage the self-respect of our race. Today, we must save the sea turtles before it is too late.
Based in Hainan Island, China, Sea Turtles 911 works at every level of the danger spectrum, rescuing illegally captured sea turtles, rehabilitating injured turtles, raising hatchlings poached from distant islands, and releasing turtles back into their natural habitat, to help give these endangered creatures a fighting chance at survival.
Our focus on stopping restaurants and fishermen from selling sea turtles aims to curb the supply, where stopping the demand by convincing people to abandon seeking sea turtle products for their medicinal, aphrodisiacal, or aesthetic value is a much more daunting task which would require more time than the sea turtle’s may have. While we have not abandoned the effort to discourage demand, we direct our efforts to where they will have the most potent results, such as severing the supply of sea turtles available for purchase.
To continuously advocate for sea turtle rights. To support the advancement of sea turtle conservation by creating a safer oceanic habitat for the continued survival of sea turtles and all marine life; and to promote their peaceful co-existence with humans by ending the global exploitation of sea turtles. Sea Turtles 911 uses grassroots action to spread awareness and appreciation through education, contribute to local empowerment through ecotourism, and to successfully achieve sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation.
We believe that armed with the 5 R’s – Rescue, Rehabilitate, Research, Raise, and Release – we can help break the cycle of sea turtle poaching and consumption around Hainan Island and give these awe-inspiring creatures a better chance at survival. Find out how you can help us achieve our mission.
Sea Turtles 911
4348 Waialae Ave. #700
Asia/ North America
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