Five remaining sea turtles held in Dayi Temple in Penghu have finally been returned to their ocean home after decades in captivity, thanks to work from Taiwan’s leading animal protection group, Environment & Animal Society of Taiwan (EAST).
The sea turtles were released at dusk during the high tide and were trained in a pool before their release. The remaining turtles included three green sea turtles, one hawksbill turtle, and one loggerhead turtle. They were trained in a 100-ton pool at the Penghu Fisheries Research Institute to help prepare them for their release back into the ocean.
The Penghu Fisheries Research Institute said that after a veterinarian examination of the turtles earlier this month, they were approved for reintroduction to the wild.
Two of the turtles were equipped with transmitters so that they could be tracked after their release. Unfortunately, due to the shortage of transmitters, the Ocean Affairs Council said they were not able to track all five.
The turtles were handed over after public pressure on the Dayi Temple after numerous deaths at the Temple. At the Dayi Temple, the turtles were crammed in underground pools where they were deprived of sunlight. A study also found high blood levels of copper and nickel due to the coins that visitors tossed in the turtle pools.
Sea turtle populations have been hit pretty hard by human activity. These animals should never be taken from their environment for our entertainment.
While sea turtles are never the target of commercial fishing nets, they are often found tangled in them along with other fish.
These beautiful creatures are also poached for their shells and are greatly affected by rising pollution levels in the sea.
As the result, many sea turtle species are classified as threatened or endangered, meaning it is up to us to protect the sea turtles that remain if there is to be any hope for their recovery.
This article by Hailey Kanowsky was first published by OneGreenPlanet on 20 November 2022.
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