Despite the crowds and the litter strewn beach, threatened olive-ridley sea turtles are still dragging themselves up onto Kuta Beach in Bali to lay their precious cargo.
News received just this week from Mr Wayan Wiradnyana, Chairman of the Bali Sea Turtle Society (BSTS) is that olive ridley turtles are turning up in force!
Mr Wayan Wiradnyana said that, We have had great turtle season this year so far. Starting from end of April and almost every day, sea turtles have been leaving the sea and laying eggs on Kuta Beach. This week there have been between 2 and 6 turtles coming in each night. We have now relocated 45 nests to our special incubation facility. All hatchlings will then be safely released back into the sea at Kuta Beach.
With permission from the Indonesian authorities, the Bali Sea Turtle Society, in cooperation with Kuta Traditional Village/Kuta Beach Security, organise the relocation of eggs laid on Kuta Beach to the Society's simulated hatchery behind the main beach (a giant sculptured turtle just down from the Hard Rock Café and next to the Kuta Beach Security headquarters). This translocation is undertaken because of the ongoing threats that endanger olive ridley eggs in their original nesting locations, such as erosion, changed high tide regimes, very heavy tourist traffic, feral dogs and irresponsible human action. This has been a very successful program for over 10 years now.
Mr Wayan Wiradnyana said that, As of May 22, there have been 50 turtle nests found on Kuta Beach, consisting of approximately 5000 eggs, with 197 hatchlings released so far. The other turtle nesting beach protected by the Society and traditional villagers, at Tegal Besar Beach, just north of Kuta, has so far seen ten turtle nestings laying 462 eggs.
Indonesia is a country with the longest coastline in the world. Out of 7 sea turtle species, 6 of them can be found in Indonesian waters, they are: green turtle (Chelonia mydas), hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea), leatherback (Dermochelys coracea), loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and flatback (Natator depressus). Bali is one of the islands in Indonesia which is well-known for its tourism and also for the issue of sea turtle conservation efforts over the last two decades. Bali has also developed an unfortunate reputation for the high number of sea turtles in illegal trade, and has become a focus of international conservation attention.
HSI Campaign Director Michael Kennedy said that, We have been very proud to financially support marine turtle conservation programs in Bali for over a decade now, and on World Turtle Day, the activities of the Bali Sea Turtle Conservation Society are to be highly commended. The work of Mr Wayan Wiradnyana on the beaches at Kuta, Legian, Seminyak and Tegal Basar has resulted in many tens of thousands of eggs and hatchlings being successfully translocated and released into the wild, representing a success rate of nearly 100%!
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