Photos by Deck Sotto
Turtle conservation in Bali is incredibly important work, and happily, people are coming together to help ensure the survival of turtles all over Bali, including in Sanur.
Life is precarious for baby turtles. Predators, human interference and harsh conditions mean that most hatchlings will die before they even reach the water. And of those who do make it, less than 1% will survive to maturity. Sharks and other natural predators are one threat to their survival, but the bigger risks are boat propellers and plastic debris which has made its way into their food chain.
Turtle conservation groups are popping up all over the Sanur coastline and doing their best to help the turtles along. And the best part about it is, these aren’t organised charities or conservation groups, instead, they are concerned locals who want to look after the marine life and do their bit for generations to come.
It’s heartening to see their efforts. A walk along the Sanur coast reveals turtle nests roped off from the public, and clearly signposted to deter people from entering the fragile nesting areas.
The nests are carefully observed and guarded by teams of locals, who make sure that once the eggs hatch, the hatchling turtles are well cared for.
Hatchlings are monitored, and in many cases moved to the safety of local warungs to be watched over in makeshift turtle nurseries. Fishermen get involved too, patiently preparing fish and seaweed for the baby turtles so that they can build up their strength before they are released into the ocean.
And injured turtles such as Green Sea turtles, Hawksbill, and Olive Ridley turtles are rescued from the ocean and given time to rehabilitate, have their injuries treated, and recuperate before they are released back into the ocean.
Releasing the turtles is both beautiful and a team effort, with turtle carers coming together from Tapha on Pantai Semawang, all the way along the beach to Panti Sindhu to send the turtles on their way, and hopefully to long and healthy lives.