Sea Turtles Struggling to Return Back to their Homeland

Sahar Koreshi, Staff Writer

Lately, there has been a high demand for sea turtle meat and shells in the Hainan Islands, located in China. In 2008, the problem arose when live sea turtles were being illegally shipped so tightly that their shells started to chip. We still don’t know if they will be able to return back to their homeland, but in the meantime, they are being treated at the hospital in Hainan Normal University.

“Historically, this is their motherland,” said professor Haitao Shi at Hainan Normal University interviewed recently on CNN 10. “So they should return back.”

Stanley, an endangered green sea turtle, was very weak and premature when he was born. Within a week, he was sent to the sea turtle hospital for a treatment. In 2016, Stanley was back and better to go into the ocean.

“He just couldn’t move… Usually when they hatch they’re very active, they’re scrabbling across the beach really fast,” said Frederick Yeh, founder of Sea Turtle 911. “It’s like a frenzy, and that’s what gets them past all the predators.”

Recently, there has been a high demand in sea turtle meat and shells, which has lead to the disappearance of animals hatching eggs on the island. If the demand is continuously high, then sea turtles will not be coming to the Hainan Island anymore. Frederick Yeh and professor Haitao Shi wants to tell people about the current problem and to raise awareness in hope for sea turtles returning back to their homeland.

“It made me realize that turtle species are facing this huge risk of extinction because (they’re) very special. With a big shell, it’s very difficult to escape, it’s very easy to be caught … those species will be very easy to be made extinct,” Yeh said.