(Picture of a Hawksbill turtle courtesy of http://www.ioseaturtles.org/species_overview.php)
Information was received overnight that another batch of 25 tagged sea turtles has been released into the ocean off Zanzibar by the Mnarani Marine Aquarium. This brings the total number reared and released to over 170 since the programme commenced a few years ago.
The locally publicized release is now an annual event but lacks greater exposure as well as funding, the latter much needed in order to allow the aquarium, which also serves as a research centre, to increase its output and help to have the critically endangered species survive in the ocean. The aquariums public relations staff appealed to residents of the area, in particular fishermen, to help this cause by bringing in newly hatched turtles, few of which actually survive in the wild due to predatory birds and fish, so that they can be reared to a adolescence before being tagged and released into their natural habitat with a greater chance of survival. Normally grown sea turtles, a minute fraction of those hatching from the sandy beaches, take often decades to mature and mate before females then return to their own birth places to lay eggs on the beach, which are incubated by the sun heating up the sand.
Thumbs up to this remarkable and privately funded initiative which surely deserves more support and assistance to help in preserving sea turtles for future generations.