Tuesday, December 11 2018

VietNamNews

Turtle eggs taken from island to island

Update: November, 11/2018 - 09:00
A staff of the Chàm Island Marine Protected Area releases a baby turtle to the ocean. — VNS Photo Phạm Hải
Viet Nam News

Rare sea turtles are in danger of dying out but a project has started that aims to save them.

Researchers have taken eggs from Côn Đảo Island in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province to Chàm Island in the south central province of Quảng Nam.

There, they have hatched and gone into the sea.

In thirty years’ time the baby turtles will return to the beaches where they were born and lay eggs to start the next generation.

Bùi Hoài Nam

A team of researchers from the Chàm Island’s Marine Protected Area (MPA) have relocated 900 turtle eggs and released 800 baby turtles into the ocean as part of a conservation project over the past year.

The eggs, taken from turtle nests on Côn Đảo Island in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province, were transported more than 1,000km before being placed in new nests on a beach on Chàm Island in the south central province of Quang Nam.

Researcher Lê Xuân Ái said the conservation project had given hope for the repopulation of turtle species in areas where they were on the decline.

“Beaches in central Việt Nam are seen as safe places for sea turtles to lay their eggs, but rapid development has damaged their environment,” Ái said.

“Naturally, baby turtles often return to the beach where they were born to lay their own eggs when they reach maturity about 30 years later. The baby turtles we released from Chàm Island will likely return to spawn the next generation,” he explained.

He said the project would build up a base creating safe nests for turtle reproduction and conservation to restore the endangered species.

Trần Thị Hồng Thúy, director of the MPA, said an area of 40sq.km on Bãi Bấc Beach had been designated as a protected site for turtles to nest.

“We plan to expand a strict protection area for the green turtle (Chelonia mydas) species,” Thúy said.

“A quiet, safe, clean and ‘green’ aquatic environment and pristine beaches will be reserved for turtle conservation only.”

Ái said the green turtle was very sensitive to human activities and pollution, and they would leave the beaches if they felt unsafe from enemies (dogs, snakes or birds).

“Turtles often produce eggs when they reach 30-35 years old. We have witnessed turtles arriving on the beach to lay their eggs, but then leaving due to various threats,” said Ái, who has 30 years experience in turtle conservation.

Nguyễn Thị Huyền Trang, who voluntarily joined a turtle conservation project with the International Union for Conservation of Natural Resources (IUCN), said that turtles often laid at least 80 eggs each between April and September.

“We had to clean the beach for the turtles to lay their eggs at night. They leave if they find rubbish on beach,” Trang recalled. 

“The number of male or female baby turtles depends on the temperature and sun. Young turtles go out to sea 45-60 days after hatching.” 

Environment improved

Nguyễn Tám, 53, a fisherman on the island, said that it had been polluted by rubbish and untreated seafood from fishing boats.

“The ocean was a huge dustbin for islanders. The beach was piled up with garbage from fishing boats and households,” he said.

“The coral reefs are damaged by anchors of the fishing boats. During stormy weather, we have no clean water or power, and the island is isolated from the mainland,” he said.

Tám said the island was one of the poorest communes in Hội An ancient town 20 years ago, and islanders were forced to rely on food supplied by the town.

However, things have changed.

Since Chàm Island was recognised as a World Biosphere Reserve site by UNESCO in 2009, communication campaigns on the importance of its rich biodiversity and the need to protect the marine and forest ecosystem by the MPA and international conservation organisations.

Islanders have been educated about the environment and marine habitat protection through training courses.

“We have gradually come to understand the value of nature. Most islanders now know the importance of keeping the island clean because it will improve their lives. More tourists are arriving and fish stocks are on the rise, while the coral reefs are better protected,” he shared.

Tám said his family now offered homestay services and a shop for tourists.

“No more littering, and no more plastic bags are used by islanders and visitors. Tourists are told not to use plastic bags at Cửa Đại Port before they head to the island,” chairman of Tân Hiệp Island Commune Nguyễn Văn An said.

 “Dustbins are available around the island, and a solid waste treatment plant has been built to incinerate rubbish,” An said

“A tourism boom in recent years has helped improve the people’s earnings from home-stays, restaurants, motorbike rental and tours. Islanders enjoy a better income from tourism rather than traditional trades like fishing and crafts,” he added.

Hạnh Phương, the owner of a seafood restaurant, said islanders now used paper bags or re-useable baskets instead of plastic bags.

“It’s taken time to educate the people. The island has turned ‘green’ since the campaign to say no to littering and plastic bags started,” said Chu Mạnh Trinh from the MPA.

“Fishermen now acknowledge a ‘no fishing’ area in the MPA core-zone, and they carefully release small fish, crabs and turtles from their nets,” he said.

“The successful story of turtle conservation on the Chàm Islands is a magnificent example of education on environmental protection. The ex-situ conservation practice had been succeeded in other countries in the world, but it’s the first time in Việt Nam,” said Bùi Thị Thu Hiền, an expert from the IUCN.

“It needs to continue in the near future with positive support from the local administration and community for prolonged mass conservation.”

The 2,400 inhabitants of the island, which also includes eight islets with vast ecological diversity, earned US$3.6 million last year - VNS

 

GLOSSARY

A team of researchers from the Chàm Island’s Marine Protected Area (MPA) have relocated 900 turtle eggs and released 800 baby turtles into the ocean as part of a conservation project over the past year.

Researchers are people who try to find out more about things and therefore increase the knowledge people have of the world around them.

Conservation is to do with keeping valuable things, like nature, going and not disappearing.

Researcher Lê Xuân Ái said the conservation project had given hope for the repopulation of turtle species in areas where they were on the decline.

The repopulation of turtles to a place means that the place once again gets turtles after having lost them.

A turtle species is a type of turtle.

If turtles were on the decline, their numbers were going down and down. In other words, as time went on, there would be fewer and fewer of them.

“Naturally, baby turtles often return to the beach where they were born to lay their own eggs when they reach maturity about 30 years later.

Reaching maturity means becoming adults.

“The baby turtles we released from Chàm Island will likely return to spawn the next generation,” he explained.

To spawn means to release eggs.

You and your brothers and sisters are one generation; your parents, your aunts and uncles are another and your grandparents are yet another generation, and so on.

He said the project would build up a base creating safe nests for turtle reproduction and conservation to restore the endangered species.

Reproduction means having babies.

To restore something means to bring it back to what it was.

If a creature is endangered it is in danger of dying out and being gone forever.

Trần Thị Hồng Thúy, director of the MPA, said an area of 40sq.km on Bãi Bấc Beach had been designated as a protected site for turtles to nest.

Designated means “set aside”.

“A quiet, safe, clean and ‘green’ aquatic environment and pristine beaches will be reserved for turtle conservation only.”

Aquatic means to do with water.

Pristine means natural and untouched by humans.

Ái said the green turtle was very sensitive to human activities and pollution, and they would leave the beaches if they felt unsafe from enemies (dogs, snakes or birds).

If a green turtle is sensitive to human activities and pollution, those two things can easily harm them .

“We have witnessed turtles arriving on the beach to lay their eggs, but then leaving due to various threats,” said Ái, who has 30 years experience in turtle conservation.

Witnessed means “seen”.

Nguyễn Thị Huyền Trang, who voluntarily joined a turtle conservation project with the International Union for Conservation of Natural Resources (IUCN), said that turtles often laid at least 80 eggs each between April and September.

To do a job voluntarily means to be willing to do it without being paid.

During stormy weather, we have no clean water or power, and the island is isolated from the mainland,” he said.

If a place is isolated it is far away from anywhere else.

The mainland is a large body of land, which is usually part of a continent.

Tám said the island was one of the poorest communes in Hội An ancient town 20 years ago, and islanders were forced to rely on food supplied by the town.

To rely on something means to need it to survive.

Since Chàm Island was recognised as a World Biosphere Reserve site by UNESCO in 2009, communication campaigns on the importance of its rich biodiversity and the need to protect the marine and forest ecosystem by the MPA and international conservation organisations.

If a place has rich biodiversity there are many different living things there, such as different types of plants and animals.

Marine means to do with the sea.

An ecosystem is a community of living things that live in the same place and often live off one another. The community may be small, like a pot plant or huge like a mountain.

Islanders have been educated about the environment and marine habitat protection through training courses.

A habitat is a place where living things have the correct amount of food and shelter to survive.

“Dustbins are available around the island, and a solid waste treatment plant has been built to incinerate rubbish,” An said.

To incinerate means to burn.

“The ex-situ conservation practice had been succeeded in other countries in the world, but it’s the first time in Việt Nam,” said Bùi Thị Thu Hiền, an expert from the IUCN.

Ex-situ conservation means “off site conservation”.

Succeeded means carried on by someone else who has taken it over.

“It needs to continue in the near future with positive support from the local administration and community for prolonged mass conservation.”

Prolonged means carrying on and on and on.

 

WORKSHEET

State whether the following sentences are true, or false:

  1. Hạnh Phương owns a seafood restaurant.
  2. Tourists are told not to use plastic bags at Cửa Đại Port before they head to the island.
  3. There are no dustbins on Chàm Island.
  4. People who live on Chàm Island use paper bags or re-useable baskets instead of plastic bags.
  5. A tourism boom in recent years has caused people on Chàm Island to earn less money.

 

ANSWERS:

© Duncan Guy/Learn the News/ Viet Nam News 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.  True; 2. True; 3. False; 4. True; 5. False.

 

 

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