Qarau reflects on the importance of World Turtles Day

Posted on 23 May 2022
Hawksbill turtle hatchlings moving out to sea.
A new born sea turtle hatchling races across the sand to its new home, the great Pacific ocean.

For Dau ni Vonu (Turtle monitor) Pita Qarau, he is  satisfied with a job well done, as he writes  onto his notepad his observation of the day which includes the number of sea turtle hatchlings that made it out to sea, location of the nesting site, beach name, date and time, in addition to the unhatched turtles.

“My responsibility lies in monitoring and surveillance of turtle nesting sites on Yadua as well as help raise awareness with partner organisations and communities across Fiji.”

“Sea turtles are amazing creatures, they are also endangered species.-”

“I have been doing this for more than two decades, I don’t make money from it because I am very passionate about the work that I do but I have noticed the challenges these marine reptiles face”Qarau said.

He highlighted that rubbish which is thrown into the ocean affects turtles in various ways for example plastic bags that are mistaken for jelly fish.

“ Turtles end up mistaking the plastics for their food, which is one of the reasons as to why I always ensure that the beaches around Yadua is plastic free.”

“The most amazing thing about these creatures is that they are mysterious, hatchlings from nests will not be seen on these beaches for the next 30 or so years.”

Qarau added that it’s interesting to note that an animal so tiny can leave its home the day it is born and knows where to come back.

“I encourage communities to protect sea turtles, with the understanding that there is ban on harvesting sea turtles taking into consideration our future generation, so that they too can continue the work of sea turtle conservation.”

“I am happy that my passion and commitment towards sea turtle conservation is beginning to take flight especially  when I see that some coastal villages are beginning to follow through.”

Hawksbill turtle hatchlings moving out to sea.
© WWF Enlarge
Turtle monitor assessing a nesting site in Yadua Island, Bua.
© WWF Enlarge
Una Vuli measures and tags a turtle under the guidance of turtle monitor Pita Qarau.
© WWF Enlarge
Hawksbill reared in safety.
© WWF Enlarge
Plastic bottles and other debris washed up along the shores of Yadua Islands nesting beachesx.These are a threat to turtles and the environment.
© WWF Enlarge