Why save the Sea Turtles?

Did you know that the Leatherback Sea Turtles are the largest turtles in the world? turtle

The heaviest one recorded was over 2,000 lbs. That’s incredible!!

Last year I decided to join GoVoluntouring so I could experience my first conservation project and pay it forward to those endangered animals in need. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.

“GoVoluntouring is the leading full-service specialist for both volunteering and applied learning programs around the world.”  http://govoluntouring.com/

So, why should we save the sea turtles? A lot of people ask me why I chose turtles in particular. Why is a sea turtle so important?

Well, why is any animal important?

When I was looking for the perfect project I could really focus on I had a hard time choosing. There is no one animal more important than another. Every living thing on this planet is fundamental to our survival. If I could, I would volunteer all around the world helping as many animals as possible.

So why don’t I? Money. It’s the one excuse and roadblock I always run into. Stupid money.

Since I can’t afford to travel the world and volunteer everywhere… I chose an animal I’ve always loved. Turtles 🙂 That’s when I started my “Save the Sea Turtles” campaign and began fundraising.

When I was a little girl I had a pet turtle named Beverly. Why did I name her Beverly? I have no idea. I have an Aunty named Beverly… but I don’t think that had anything to do with it. I thought of my pet turtle Beverly when I decided to join a sea turtle conservation in Costa Rica.

I’ve learned only 1-2 turtles make it to sea after hatching. That usually means a single survivor in a nest full of hundreds of babies. Poaching, drag net fishing or just the loss of habitat will prove fatal for most of the baby turtles. There are a lot of forces working against them.

baby-turtle-0

http://fundraise.govoluntouring.com/campaign/1000074

Why wouldn’t I want to save this little guy? He’s so cute!

The project is located in the north of the Caribbean province Limon. The beach is part of the 50km coastline stretching between Tortuguero National Park and the port of Limon, one of the biggest ports of Costa Rica. This beach is extremely important for the Leatherback and Green Sea Turtles. It is an essential nesting ground for them and sometimes it’s also visited by Hawksbill Sea Turtles, which are very rare. This area is very remote and uninhabited, other than the volunteers at the conservation. 

The cost for the conservation is $600/per week and that includes room and board the entire time you are there. The staff provides 3 meals a day and a clean place to sleep. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of the quarters and all the tools necessary for turtle research. In an email I received from my program co-ordinator, she told me this:

“Volunteer work includes assisting the staff with data collection, egg protection of the sea turtles and rescue and rehabilitation duties. It involves night patrols and hatchery shifts as well as daytime work like beach cleanup or construction of the hatcheries.”

Awesome right!? 

I’ve been fundraising for a whole year by posting facebook updates, selling my stuff, having sidewalk sale fundraisers and making jewelry. So far I’ve raised $1400 towards the project, which is a lot less than I thought I’d have by now. But, unfortunately a lot of people can’t get involved due to finances. Most people don’t even have $1 to spare… which is strange because they do seem to have money for other things… just not a dollar for a turtle. A good friend of mine even said that my fundraiser looked like I was just trying to get others to fund a vacation. Which kind of hurt but, I get it. That wasn’t my intention. And if you know me, you know I am not the kind of person to ever have those intentions. I truly want to help endangered animals.

To those people who have supported my cause and actually care enough just to wish me good luck … I am forever grateful. I am so lucky to have those people in my life who care about me. So I will keep on fundraising until I reach my goal and then go save some turtles!There’s a lot of controversy when it comes to volunteering which I’ve obviously learned about since starting my campaign… and you can read about it here:

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/jul/29/wildlife-conservation-projects-more-harm

and here:

http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/lion-pets.html#cr   and a ton of other articles out there.

I share this with you because I want to know what the general consensus is. What do YOU think about conservation? Is this something we can do to change the world?

I personally think conservation is important. So are a lot of other projects out there including feeding the hungry, standing up for women’s rights or even children’s education programs.

My future goals definitely include working as a full time volunteer and humanitarian. It’s what I want to write about. I would love more than anything to be a travel writer and use conservation efforts as my main focus. And so, this is all part of my journey to becoming a successful writer. I want my work to have purpose. To reach more and more people until we see a drastic change. So surely, you can count on hearing about the trip down to Costa Rica next year and about those magnificent turtles.

There are so many sea turtle conservations other than the one I’m getting involved in. If it’s something you’re interested in check out the GoVoluntouring website and browse through the wonderful campaigns. There are many opportunities to give back to the world or even support someone who has a passion for volunteering. You can also volunteer here:

http://www.conserveturtles.org/

OR here:

http://earthwatch.org/

OR here:

http://www.seeturtles.org/

I could go on and on…

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