On a visit to the Turks & Caicos Islands I was lucky enough to see the release of three green turtles into the wild.
Green turtles are protected on land in Turks & Caicos but may be legally captured when at sea. Keeping track of the population is essential to maintain a balance between the needs of the species and those of fishermen. So the UK-based Marine Conservation Society and the Turks & Caicos’ Department of Environmental and Maritime Affairs monitor the population and sometimes release captive-bred turtles back into the wild.
These three (named Roco, Vasy and Trey) were found in two nests on Provo and Grand Turk in November 2010, and have been looked after since then by staff at the Turks & Caicos Conch Farm. Former conch farm production manager Eiglys Trejo was on hand to help with the release and explain to local schoolchildren how the turtles will be tracked.
Amdeep Sanghera, project officer for the Turks and Caicos Turtle Project explained that the hope is that these three turtles will not only survive in the ocean but return in 30 years time to breed on the beaches of Turks & Caicos and complete the cycle.
You could see the excitement on the faces of the children as they were allowed to hold the young turtles. Each animal wears a tag on its flipper so it can be identified next time it comes into contact with humans. Then the animals were released to scuttle down the beach into the inviting depths of the ocean.
Geek note: All these images were made with the excellent Fuji X100 camera.