By Dian Hasan | September 20, 2009
The most impactful lessons are those learned at a young age. That’s a given. Applicable in any learning situation, including learning about the earth. School-age kids are in the best position to partake in “outside-classroom” learning experiences that place them face-to-face with nature. And to witness (and concurrently appreciate) flora and fauna in their natural habitat.
Such is the case with one Singapore-based organization – Eco Field Trips – that works with schools across the South East Asian region in raising awareness about the eco-related matters. Through well-designed eco-tours within Asia Pacific. Here’s a look at their Turtle Conservation Program.
Sea Turtles are thought to have evolved over 200 million years ago. These magnificent creatures have outlived the dinosaurs! However their populations are now at severe risk. All species of marine turtle are classed as endangered or critically endangered and protected globally by CITES.
The human impact on sea turtles is two-fold. There are accidental effects from fishing, propellor impacts and pollution. On top of that humans continue to poach turtle eggs and hunt the adults for their meat, hide and carapace. The pressures facing turtles are such that the survival rate from hatchling to adult is estimated to be as low as one in one thousand!
In the past, eggs were tradiontally collected in isolated areas with few resources and eaten as a source of protein. Presently, with the decline in populations, this practice is no longer sustainable, and if nothing is done to slow their population decline both the Leatherback and the Hawksbill species which are critically endangered), could face extinction within ten years, with other species following in the near future.
We work closely with local egg-collectors to safely relocate eggs to our sheltered hatchery at Melina Beach Resort on Tioman Island, where they will be protected from poachers and natural predators such as ghost crabs, monitor lizards, cats and dogs. The hatchery has expanded drastically over the last 9 years. We bury the eggs in a nest, modelled as closely as possible on the natural nest of that particular species. 2008 has been our most successful year ever with 18 nests. So far in 2009 we have received 3 nests in the first 3 weeks of the laying season, so it is shaping up to be another busy year!
As a student on an Ecofieldtrip to Tioman Island, you may have the privilege of seeing a nest relocated and buried in our hatchery, or, if you are really lucky, a turtle laying her eggs.
Source: Eco Field Trips