Guests, staff and kids witnessing the release of the Hawksbill turtle. Photo: SUPPLIED
By LUKE NACEI
It was a passionate day for the Survivors Entertainment Group and Mana Resort staff as they farewelled a two year old Hawksbill turtle.
Guests, staff and kids stood side by side in a guard of honour as Mrs Barbara Probst carried little Survivor (hawksbill turtle) to the water edge to release into its natural habitat.
“It was very emotional to let go of little ‘Survivor’,” Mrs Probst said.
She was one of the survivors from Sunset Beach, a common nesting ground for sea turtles during the nesting season at Mana Island in 2015.
The name Survivor was embraced from the Survivor Entertainment Group who is filming the movie Survivor around the Mamanuca Islands.
“Thank You for the amazing programme,” she said.
Mamanuca Environment Society project manager, Marica Vakacola said the turtle release on the day is in collaboration with the resort to create more awareness of nature.
“With the existing rehabilitation of injured sea turtles on Mana Island Resort, an exemption from the local Fisheries Department was gained in favour of educational programs for visitors and locals and to breed injured turtles before tagging and releasing them back into the ocean,” Mrs Vakacola said.
The turtle release was held on the north-side of the island.
“It was a good day and it ended with an emotional goodbye to a resident turtle who had been looked after by Mana staff and Mamanuca Environment Society for two long years. We wish “Survivor” a safe and long journey.”
These creatures are ambassadors of the ocean, for conserving these animals’ means protecting the seas and coastal areas, which in turn means protecting a complex, interconnected world on which human societies depend.
People all over the world have heard about the plight of sea turtles in the media as their populations have been dramatically reduced worldwide, earning them Critically endangered status on the IUCN Red List .
Sea turtles have existed in our oceans for more than 100 million years, but today they find themselves struggling for their lives and their future.
The Mamanuca Islands are one of the major nesting and foraging ground for Green and Hawksbill turtle and were once exploited for traditional use in the Mamanuca Group.
Through the Mamanuca Sea Turtle Conservation Project supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP), the Mamanuca Environment Society (MES) is working to protect the remaining turtle population in the Mamanuca and Malolo group of islands.
The UNDP Small grant programme awareness, the significance of sea turtles, their status in the world and the legislation that protect them are shared with the identified stakeholders, the villages, schools and resorts.
MES will continue to work with conservation partners, member resorts, schools and communities in leading the work of turtle conservation to maintain the protection of these critically endangered sea turtle population in the region.