When I was younger, I used to hike with my uncle at the Goldstream Provincial Park in Victoria, B.C. weekly. In the midst of the temperate rain forest lies a stream in which thousands of salmon spawn during fall. In the same stream, the salmon that laid their eggs laid dead as well. As a child, watching the entire salmon life cycle before my eyes really made an impact on my impressionable mind, and I believe that it marked the start to my quest to obtain more information about marine life.
I gathered a lot of information from the Kahoot quiz that I participated in the beginning of the call. I learnt that corals were animals (I thought they were plants…), and they don’t have a backbone!! I was amazed to know that Singapore has 255 species of hard corals. I didn’t know Singapore even had corals?!! I thought that if I ever wanted to see corals, I had to go to the Great Barrier Reef! I also learnt that sea grasses are actually flowering plants! I assumed that they were… grass (perhaps because of the name HAHA). For someone who has very limited knowledge about marine life, I learnt so much from the quiz itself!
The conversation about turtles was my biggest takeaway from the entire call! I learnt that there are many factors to consider before one decides to transport the turtle eggs. If the turtle lay its eggs near the roots of a tree, the eggs should be removed from the area. This is because the roots will absorb the nutrients from the eggs, and this might cause harm to the turtle embryo. If the eggs are in an area where beach-goers frequent, harm might be posed to the eggs. Additionally, eggs should be removed if there are high chances of them being preyed on by monitor lizards.
I never knew how complicated and tedious the procedure of transporting turtle eggs is. I assumed that you can just dig out for the eggs, place them in a box, and ship them to a safe location. However, this was a big misconception of mine. During the transporting procedure, the egg has to be kept in the same position. If it is not kept in the same position, the turtle might develop a deformity. Also, the period between when the eggs that are laid and when the eggs are discovered is also crucial in factoring whether the eggs should be transported to the turtle hatchery or not. Usually, by the time a staff is notified about the turtle eggs and can down to the site to assess the situation is very long, and by then, it is hard to transport the eggs to a safer location. There are indeed many factors to consider before deciding to transport the eggs.
Beach-goers should also be mindful of their actions. As turtles lay their eggs in the dark, it is highly disturbing for them when individuals record them with the camera flash on. Due to the strong light glares, turtles usually decide to go back to the sea without laying the eggs. Being educated on such information can help an individual be more aware of their behaviour and create a more conducive environment for the turtles to lay their eggs in. The most easiest way an individual can contribute to marine conservation is to not throw litter around the beach. Plastic has been a big culprit in causing turtle population to decrease as turtles mistake plastic as jellyfish, and eat it. If we all played our part to be more conscious of our actions and behaviour, we can help to conserve marine life.
One thought on “Reflections – Marine Conservationist”
Glad that you managed to learn something new!
You clearly have a strong interest in turtles. Perhaps you can consider volunteering in turtle conservation efforts! Last year there was a Biodiversity Beach Patrol programme that engaged volunteers to gather data on nesting turtles. Not sure if there will be another run (fingers crossed!) But you can watch this space: https://www.nparks.gov.sg/gardens-parks-and-nature/parks-and-nature-reserves/sisters-islands-marine-park/iyor/biodiversity-beach-patrol