Who would guess amongst the hundreds of thousands of residents and tourists that work and play at Kuta Beach that sea turtles continue to use this same stretch of sand as their nesting grounds?
Worldwide, six of seven species of sea turtles that swim the world’s oceans are threatened or endangered largely at the hand of humans. Sadly they also face many dangers as they travel the seas from accidental capture, poaching and the loss of nesting sites due to coastal development and beach pollution.
In Bali, the Olive Ridley species in particular, has been coming to the Kuta Beach area for centuries to lay their eggs. While Kuta Beach develops to be the most popular beach on the island, sea turtle populations have been declining for the past 7 years. With so much “un-natural” traffic on the beach, it was carefully decided by ProFauna group that upon finding nesting sites, the eggs should be relocated to a hatchery to improve their chance of survival.
From 2002 to 2009, a few dedicated individuals led by Agung Ngurah Tresna of Kuta Beach security and I Wayan Wiradnyana from ProFauna Indonesia, have been relocating the eggs to a humble hatchery facility, a small concrete sand bunker. As eggs hatch at the end of their two-month incubation period, the baby turtles are returned to the ocean the same day.
Recognizing the efforts above and the need for support, Coca-Cola Amatil Indonesia (CCAI) has offered a helping hand. Teaming up with Quiksilver, its partner in doing the Bali Beach Clean-Up program, we have built a permanent hatchery facility, the Kuta Beach Sea Turtle Conservation or KBSTC. The new construction is expected to help prevent the animals from extinction. In the shape of a giant turtle See attached photograph, the construction is accompanied by information boards to bring awareness of the sea turtles history and future.
“In 2008, 1947 sea turtle eggs have been hatched and the numbers doubled to be 4054 in 2009. Up to May this year we have recorded more than 5000 eggs successfully laid in the KBSTC. This is a fantastic initial result,” said Peter Kelly, President Director of CCAI. “In addition to the Bali Beach Clean-Up program and the KBSTC, we also roll out Water for life program to provide clean water access to severe drought areas in Northern Bali. All these initiatives go hand-in-hand with the objective of the Bali Government to make the resort island an eco-responsible tourist destination,” Peter added.
Paul Hutson, South East Asia Director of Quiksilver shares similar remark about the KBSTC development. “Since mid 2008, CCAI and Quiksilver Indonesia have been active in cleaning major beaches in Bali. We are positive that cleaning beaches is part of encouraging sea turtles to return and nest at Kuta Beach.”
The KBSTC is hoping to release over 12 thousand baby sea turtles by end of 2010. The KBSTC conveniently located at the beachside front of Inna Kuta Beach Hotel and has received support from local Balinese authorities, ProFauna Indonesia and Bali Forestry. The KBSTC is open to the public free of charge to enable everyone to participate and experience the joy of saving these turtles.