The Mana Island Resort hosted the release of three wild turtles back into the sea. The attendees gave the turtles a fond farewell, cleaned up the beach, and planted coral branches to help the marine ecosystem become healthy and vibrant. – Global Animal

Photo Credit: Sera Whippy

Fiji Times, Sera Whippy

The Mamanuca Environmental Society released three turtles and planted 91 branching corals at the Mana Island Resort Returnee week last Thursday.

The three-year-old turtles, two green turtles and one hawksbill, were named after some of the resorts’ returnees.

Audrey, Len and Vinny eagerly took to the waves with about 50 people farewelling them.

This is part of the resort showing its commitment to conserving and preserving its immediate surroundings.

“We are very happy to be returning these turtles to the wild. They were brought to Mana three years ago after a nest was found on Vomo Island. Ten were brought over and they were accommodated in a tank on the island,” said MES project manager Betani Salusalu.

Out of the 10 turtles from three years ago, Mr Salusalu said one had been lost while tourists were playing with them out on the beach.

“They have been tagged and released and we only hope that they will be given the chance to mature and reproduce,” said Mr Salusalu.

Mr Salusalu is however saddened with the continued harvesting of the endangered species, especially the green turtles.

“People should learn and understand why we are protecting sea turtles. They are not only endangered in Fiji but all over the world and it is against the law to kill and sell turtles. We try to educate and create the relevant awareness so that turtles will no longer be in danger,” said Mr Salusalu.

Tourists and workers earlier that morning planted acropora corals on the island’s north beach.

“The area has a lot of wave actions and a lot of corals are normally broken and killed so we are trying to replace the lost corals and help the marine ecosystem become more healthy and vibrant,” said Mr Salusalu.

There was also beach cleaning and bush walking.

http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=159423

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