Newsletter June 2020: International World Sea Turtle Day
This newsletter is dedicated to the International World Sea Turtle Day, which is celebrated annually on 16 June! This honorary day is intended to draw attention to the importance of sea turtles and the threats they face worldwide. Sea turtles are not only beautiful and charismatic animals, but also ambassadors of our oceans. They show incredible endurance and resistance – they have been around for millions of years, despite all adversities and natural dangers. Man shall not change this. Keeping this in mind we wish our readers a wonderful World Sea Turtle Day! Here is some news from our projects, which are of course strongly affected by the Corona crisis.
Boa Vista: Beach camps opened for the 2020 nesting season
Since 29 May, the state of emergency has been suspended on all Cape Verde islands. Therefore, our beach camps could finally be built, and the conservation work is now in full swing. However, our volunteer program is still on hold, as the borders of Boa Vista are not yet open for tourists and therefore, no volunteers can enter the country. We are responding to this new challenge by hiring a correspondingly higher number of local rangers to ensure that there are no gaps in beach protection.
Bali: Anti turtle shell campaign in the media
Also, our anti turtle shell campaign in Bali had to be adjusted according to the limited travel and event possibilities. Now, our mascot Kimi will be seen on various Indonesian radio and TV stations with high coverage and will inform about the negative effects of the trade with turtle shell products on the remaining small population of hawksbill turtles in Indonesia.
Sipora: Unfortunately, no nesting leatherbacks!
There is little good news about our leatherback turtle conservation project on Sipora off West Sumatra, Indonesia. No animals came ashore to lay eggs during the last nesting season from October 2019 to March 2020. As there are only a few leatherback turtles around there, this could be a statistical effect resulting from the natural fluctuations of the annual nesting numbers. We therefore really hope that we can welcome nesting leatherback turtles on Sipora again next autumn. Additionally, our research has revealed further leatherback turtle nesting beaches around West Sumatra. We are currently investigating the possibilities for a comprehensive leatherback turtle conservation project in the region and of course we very much hope that our initiative to save these highly endangered and impressive animals will not come too late.
Belambangan: Nesting season 2020 on the upswing
Our project on the Derawan island of Belambangan off the coast of East Borneo, Indonesia, has hardly been affected by the Corona crisis so far. However, there has recently been an increase in the activities of dynamite fishing off the island, but we have managed to get the local police to increase their presence there, so that these activities are already decreasing. The nest numbers of green sea turtles are currently increasing since February due to normal seasonal effects. Since the beginning of the year about 500 nests have been counted, which is in the range of last year’s nesting in the same period. In contrast to the years before 2019, however, these nests are now safe from egg poaching.