Make a difference in one turtle's life
It is really a sad sight to see the unhatched eggs and even sadder sight to see the newly hatched baby turtles strewn all over the Grande Riviere Beach. To think that these poor creatures had so slim a chance at living a full life naturally, and, now, to add insult to injury, man has been added to the long list of predators which includes dogs, birds, big fishes and even pollutants such as oil threatening their existence. One lost turtle is much too much. Let's look at a short story on this issue.
"One day, a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. Approaching the boy, he asked, 'What are you doing?'
The youth replied, 'Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them back, they'll die.'
'Son,' the man said, 'don't you realise there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can't make a difference.'
After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said…'I made a difference for that one.'"
It is my firm belief that better could have been done by both the planning agencies involved and also the Grande Riviere Environmental Organisation, which says they are for the protection of the endangered species—Dermochelys coriacea or leatherback turtle.
This group, which purports to be the protectors of the turtles and claim sole rights to the area when nesting season comes, should have been more proactive. They should have long anticipated the shift in the river towards man-made infrastructure and warned the authorities of the imminent danger and have the problem rectified before it reached this stage. During nesting time, this group is very strict when it comes to visitors following rules. How come they did not see such a big thing as the river changing course? Surely, this did not happen overnight.
They could also use some of the funds collected by way of entrance fees/tour guide fees to secure proper hatching areas for turtles and set up barriers so turtles would not stray off course and get caught in nets, under logs and on the roadways. If they are the watchmen, they need to be more vigilant. After all, it is said:
"A good deed done to an animal is as meritorious as a good deed done to a human being while an act of cruelty to an animal is as bad as an act of cruelty to a human being,"—Prophet Mohammed of Islam.
Finally, I wish to say it is my fervent hope that this never happens again. The agencies cannot bring back the lives of the dead baby hatchlings, but since this is an endangered species and the world is watching, perhaps the agencies involved can set up a hatchling area where several of the turtles (survivors of the ordeal) can be reared until able to fend for themselves in the wild, then let loose in order to increase the leatherback turtle population.
And so I quote two great thinkers of all times:
"A nation is judged by the way it treats its animals,"—Mohandas Karamchan Mahatma Gandhi and
"Life is as dear to the mute creature as it is to a man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not to die, so do other creatures," —His Holiness the Dalai Lama The Vegetarian Way, 1967.