As the sea turtle nesting season is at its peak, people have been urged not to interfere with a crucial period for the globally endangered species.
The plea has been issued by World Wildlife Fund, as the sea turtle nesting period is from October to April in Fiji.
Assistant Turtle Project Officer, Karalaini Rereavosa, says Fijians have an important role to play in the endeavour to safeguard sea turtles, as Fiji is home to a significant number of critically endangered sea turtles.
Rereavosa says they are rallying support for the protection of sea turtles, as there are a lot of factors that affect the survival of these vulnerable species.
“So, what we have been seeing is … nest are being disturbed by water. Severe cyclones, this has also disturbed most of the nest. Also, they have animal predation… from hermit crabs and dogs, and on top of that, there is consumption from people.”
Rereavosa says they have also provided a variety of alternative sources of livelihood to help people lessen their reliance on sea turtles.
“So, support the leaders of Udu District in minimizing the pressure on harvesting of turtles. So, we are trying to look at other means or other ways that Udu can look into for alternative livelihood and for alternative protein and alternative income.”
WWF Pacific has established four sea turtle nesting sites around Fiji, aimed at halting the substantial decline of the sea turtle population.
This is through the three-year “Safeguarding Sea Turtle Population in Fiji Project,” funded by the World Wildlife Fund, United Kingdom.