For the second year running WiseOceans and Four Seasons Resort Seychelles teamed up for the annual Seychelles Sea Turtle Festival. The aim of this event is to raise awareness and highlight conservation issues. On the IUCN red list sea turtle population trends range from vulnerable to critically endangered, with some species data deficient. Both the green and hawksbill sea turtle inhabit the waters and nest on the beaches of the Seychelles.
On the 8th August, near the beach of Beau Vallon; turtle enthusiasts gathered for an afternoon of sea turtle talks and competitions. The family fun day followed on the 9th August, with NGOs, government departments, schools and a local radio station, Pure FM, all coming together for one huge celebration in honour of these remarkable marine reptiles. Organisations included Island School Seychelles, GVI Seychelles Mahe and Curieuse, Nature Seychelles, Marine Conservation Society Seychelles, Seychelles Island Foundation and more! The festival was a constant hub of activity, even before the official start and long after it was over. With music blaring and regular interviews with turtle experts, a crowd was drawn towards the various stalls offering information and turtle related arts and crafts.
The WiseOceans and Four Seasons Resort Seychelles stand was adorned with turtley cool facts for everyone to read, including how long a turtle can stay underwater for (up to five hours) and a few sad facts, including hatchling survival rate (just one in 1000!). Another wall of the stand displayed our top tips for saving sea turtles. These posters offered simple suggestions that everyone could do, such as taking litter home from the beach as turtles easily confuse plastic bags with their favourite food of jellyfish, or choosing not to eat turtle meat and eggs, which are unfortunately still eaten in some other countries.
Under the gazebo things were creative, colourful and messy – face painting proved hugely popular and our artistic flair was displayed on numerous happy faces. At the end of the day we calculated approximately 100 face paintings! Whilst patiently waiting for face painting, guests lounged comfortably in the cushion corner and took part in some finger painting (turtles of course).
Luckily here in the Seychelles sea turtles have total protection under the Wild Animals Protection Act. At Four Seasons Resort Seychelles there is the added bonus of WiseOceans Marine Educators ready to protect a nest, offer a helping hand to a washed-up hatchling and to share awesome turtle knowledge with the resort guests. Most importantly events like this help spread the love for sea turtles, enthusiasm for conservation; and overall it was a huge success and a lot of fun!