Hi again Quepolandia readers! It’s Karma, the spokeskid from
Kids Saving the Rainforest!
This month I have a very important message to share with you, and that is about the importance of boating safety and protecting the
very special marine animals that share this beautiful place in the world with all of us.
I learned this lesson from a graceful animal called the sea
turtle! Let me tell you how it happened: Recently, me and my
amazing mama were walking on the beach when we came across two lifeguards carrying something large out of the water. We went over to see what it was, and we realized it was a large Hawksbill sea turtle!
There were three big gashes cut into the shell. We hoped at first that we could call one of the groups in the area that work with sea
turtles to help rescue it. Unfortunately, this poor turtle was already dead and it was too late to help her. We asked one of the lifeguards named Jhonny Lopez, what had happened.
Jhonny teaches surfing lessons, and he also volunteers his time
as a lifeguard helping keep everyone safe on the beach. He explained
to us that the turtle had been sliced by the propeller of a boat and had
washed up on shore. Some people were not showing any respect to
the body, bothering it a lot, and he and the other lifeguard had
moved it to safety while the turtle was reported to MINAE, the
government agency who helps wildlife. My mama had their number
in her phone, so she sent a message right away!
Jhonny told us that many boats and jet skis come way too close
in the waves to the shore, and that is very dangerous for both
animals and people! He said this poor turtle might have been coming
in to shore to lay her eggs. Sea turtles always return to the beach they
were hatched in to lay their eggs, and this turtle Mama might have
been coming to this very same beach for years and years before the
boat took her life!
That was a very sad experience, but it was also a lesson. I knew I
was on the beach that day and saw the turtle for a reason, and now I
am going to spread her message and try to make a difference for all
the other amazing sea turtles who are still here with us.
Turtles all around the world are beginning to fade from this
planet. Danger from boats is just one of the threats they face.
First things first is marine debris. Due to littering, trash is
infesting the oceans, causing animals like turtles to come across it
very often. For a turtle, one of the main problems are plastic bags.
One of a turtle's main food source are jellyfish. And from a turtle's
point of view a plastic bag looks identical to a jellyfish. If the turtle
eats the plastic bag it will end up choking. They can also get caught in
all that plastic, stopping them from being able to swim, eat, or even
live! If you are fishing, make sure you don’t drop fishing hooks or
lines into the ocean as these are very dangerous to animals. Around
100,000 marine animals die a year from marine debris.
Lots of people every year travel to Costa Rica just to see sea
turtles lay their eggs, and later to watch the babies hatch and make
their way out into their ocean home. In November, I am very lucky I
will be joining my school Life Project Education to see some of these
baby hatchlings going out to the ocean for the first time! We will be
working with another great non-profit helping wildlife in this area,
the Matapalo Sea Turtle Conservation Project!
But we have to think of the turtles all the time, not just when we
can see them! If you are boating or using a jet ski, pay extra careful
attention to where you are going and avoid hitting any marine life
that might be floating there in the water! Slow down, and avoid
boating over beds of sea grass which is the sea turtle’s habitat! Have a
person on board whose job it is to watch out for any marine animals.
They can wear polarized sunglasses to cut down on the glare of the
sunlight on the water, making it easier for them to spot an animal
and avoid hitting it!
Don’t have lights on the beach at night. This can confuse turtles
who use the light of the moon to find their way to the water. Even
bonfires during nesting season can lead these turtles in the wrong
Last but not least, spread the word! If you see a problem like I
did, speak up and do something about it! The planet needs the help of
people like us who want to make it a better place!
Don’t forget, if you find orphaned or injured wildlife, send a
WhatsApp message to the Kids Saving the Rainforest veterinary
team at 88-ANIMAL and we can help! You can also take a guided tour
of our Wildlife Sanctuary every day except Tuesday at 9 am to meet
some amazing animals and learn about the important work we are
doing trying to save them. You never know, you might just see me
Photograph of Hawksbill sea turtle courtesy of Jhonny Lopez.