In a world where one in every thousand baby turtles reach adulthood, the survival of every endangered green turtle and critically endangered hawksbill turtle counts toward the continuation of their species. Battling predation by crabs and goannas, eroding shores, poachers and rising temperatures, the Conflict Island’s Conservation Initiative plays an important part in increasing the survival rates of these turtles through a number of strategies:
- Conducting community awareness presentations where volunteers and the CICI Team communicate the implications of plastic pollution, poaching and predation on the survival rates of turtles. As well as this, explaining that the turtles within the Conflict Islands have been satellite tracked to Queensland, Australia – making them OUR turtles not just theirs – thus, dispelling their notions of having the right to take their turtles.
- Relocating turtle nests that are below the high tide line or at risk to poaching to an inhabited island in a hatchery where they are protected, in order to increase their chances of survival.
- Nursing baby turtles hatched in the hatcheries until they have gained enough strength to be released and hopefully increase their survival rates.
- Conducting beach clean ups to clear the shore of large driftwood logs that prevent or inhibit turtles from nesting.
- Educating encountered poachers about the importance of protecting the remaining turtles and attempting to convince them to release the turtles they have taken.
- Fitting metal flipper tags and satellite tags to nesting turtles to track the population and their movements.
- Collecting genetic samples from turtles to determine their relation to the Queensland turtle population.
Assisting with these strategies whilst also enjoying daily snorkelling, paddle boarding and swimming in a breathtakingly beautiful location, certainly made for an amazing and rewarding internship experience. To sum it all up, I’ve created a video to document my experiences: CICI Turtle Internship January 2018. Please enjoy (in HD)!