Why we need to protect turtles

Richard Branson looking out over the ocean
Image from Visual Eye
A close up of Richard Branson smiling, looking at the camera
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 6 October 2020
Incredible to see these cute hawksbill turtle hatchlings flip flopping over each other on Necker’s (aptly named) Turtle Beach as they make their way down to the ocean for the first time.

I love seeing this marvel of nature every year and as you can see in this picture, I’m standing very carefully so I don’t get too close to any of the little critters!

Image from Virgin.com
Image from Virgin.com

One of my favourite things about living in the BVI is being surrounded by such stunning scenery and nature. We are extremely fortunate to be able to witness such beautiful scenes. In the BVI the same turtles will return to the beach that they were born on to nest again for generations.

These wonderful turtles have been on our planet for 100 million years – yet it’s sad that their future is uncertain. Many species of turtles are vulnerable due to climate change, unsustainable fishing methods, pollution and in some parts of the world, hunting.

Of the seven species of marine turtles in the world, six are internationally classified as vulnerable. Beach and coastal erosion, coastal development, pollution and climate change (warming seas and extreme storms) all impact these incredible creatures. The BVI is home to four of these species of turtles. Despite their dwindling numbers, a hunting season where certain species of turtles can legally be hunted and killed still exists. Thankfully not leatherbacks, which are widely protected in the Caribbean.

We have a huge responsibility to protect turtles from extinction. On Necker Island Turtle Beach is a protected area, which has happily become a favourite turtle nesting and breeding site. Unite BVI is working hard to help protect sea turtles from extinction through conservation programmes and advocacy. The BVI Conservation and Fisheries department are also working on conservation programmes and community education on the importance of these creatures to our entire eco system.

It’s time for all of us to make protection and conservation of our environment a priority – it’s why we are also supporting Ocean’s Unite’s campaign to protect 30% of the ocean by 2030.

We all have a lot to gain from protecting these amazing animals and from the ocean.