Hatching sites set on Kuta beach

Kuta Turtle Conservation Center is gearing up for a new breeding season, predicted for June and July, when thousands of turtle eggs will hatch on temporary sites on Kuta Beach.

I Gusti Ngurah Tresna, head of Kuta Beach Lifeguard Security, said the center was now busy placing temporary hatching sites created from rectangular pieces of plywood measuring 2.5 meters by 1.5 meters to enable turtles to hatch their eggs.
“There are enough to hatch 2,000 eggs,” explained Gung Aji, popularly known as Mr. Turtle for his dedication to protect the sea turtles on Kuta Beach.
On Monday, there were three to eight turtles, more will come; they lay hundreds of eggs every day, he said.
“A turtle can produce 650 eggs. We are expecting more turtles to produce thousands of eggs in the coming months,” smiled Gung Aji.
Gung Aji explained that Kuta Beach is not only famous as a tourist destination and surf paradise, but also as an important conservation center for the endangered sea turtles in Bali.

When the eggs hatch, the center’s staff will have to look after the babies while waiting for them to be strong enough to swim in the open seas.
“The babies will be released to the sea when the time comes,” he said.
I Wayan Wiradnyana, founder of the Sea Turtle Society, said they had tried to involve local communities, as well as tourists, to participate in sea turtle conservation efforts.
“The breeding and hatching seasons have shifted to June and July because of climate factors,” Wiradnyana said, while releasing 30 baby turtles on Kuta Beach on Monday afternoon.
“We are encouraging local residents and visitors to be active in protecting sea turtles,” Wiradnyana added.
Established in 2002, the Kuta Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center is jointly managed and operated by the Kuta Beach Lifeguard Security and ProFauna Indonesia, an NGO specializing in conservation of endangered animals.
Since 2002, hundreds of the endangered sea turtles have hatched thousands of eggs along the famous Kuta Beach.
During the hatching period, the center monitors the process, ensuring sound conditions for the hatchings.
“In addition to improving the image of Bali, the sea turtle conservation center has aroused the awareness of local Balinese about the importance of conserving the turtles instead of eating them,” Gung Aji said.
Rosek Nursahid, chairman of ProFauna, stated that Bali had previously been a hotbed of animal trafficking, including in sea turtles.
It was reported that hundreds of sea turtles were smuggled to the island and slaughtered for various purposes, including for their meat, which is a local delicacy.
The Sea Turtle Conservation Center was built in part to improve the island’s poor animal rights reputation internationally.
“Now, Kuta Sea Turtle Conservation Center has become an important place for education and conservation of the endangered sea turtle, as well as a tourist attraction,” said Wiradnyana.

BY PENI WIDARTI ON 2012-05-23 Jakarta Post/Bali daily

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