Save the turtles - BOYCOTT this resort
Currently in Pulau Kapas, Malaysia, to do some volunteering for the Sea Shepherd Dive mission and Ocean Quest Global, my friend and I witnessed a really disturbing scene this morning, that we wanted to report to you.
We heard about a Sea turtle conservation center near Kapas, on Gem Island, that we wanted to visit and see if we could help there as well. Gem Island is a really tiny island at about 200m from Kapas island, with only one big resort/spa built on it.
As soon as we arrived on the island, a man, apparently in charge of the « conservation » program, invited us to help them changing the water of the tank where was the turtles and cleaning it. This tank was actually an old pool, concrete build, from the Gem Island resort, size about 2mx4m, just next to the shallow sea water, with no pump or anything to renew or clean the water.
In it, was a adult albino turtle surrounded by hundreds of babies (all aged together, some 3 days old and others a couple of weeks). He asked us to take out all of the baby turtles from this « tank » or « pool » (call it how you want), to place them in a big bucket of about 1m across, full of sea water. This man gave us some sponges (the green scratchy side of it) to clean up the shell and head of those little babies, completely covered by algaes. Obviously, those people rarely change the water or « once a week » as the man said to me (knowing that the water is supposed to be changed twice a day, after feeding them). While we were taking care of the baby turtles, we saw an other guy emptying the pool water, into the sea, revealing the adult turtle covered with a thick amount of dirt and algae (attached photograph), as well as the bottom, covered with the same dirt and algae and also papers and cigarette buds.
Following this, the man let a tourist « cleaning » the shell of the albino turtle with a broom, while her husband was taking pictures. During this moment, we were still standing around the tank full of babies, cleaning them, surrounded by tourists attracted by the « animation ». So the man gave them sponges as well to help us clean, but without any directives. So you could see children and adults around the tank touching the fragile babies, squeezing their young belly, letting them out of the water too long, not giving them the care they need. The babies were way too many in this tiny tank, and you could see them struggling to breath.
This scene lasted for more than 2hrs and a half (we left as we were heart broken and didn't want to be part of this, and they were still in the tank), without anyone changing or renewing the water of the tank they were into. The guy « in charge » left in the middle of it, to bring some more tourists to participate to this « activity », living the turtles and everything without any surveillance, with the pool half clean and the adult turtle alone inside of it without any water.
As soon as we started asking questions about their methods, the guy starting to change ton and was really agressive towards us. We asked how many times they change the water, why they didn’t put the turtles, at least, in the bigger pool above (there is a bigger kind of pool above but they dont use it because « too much maintenance »), asked why they kept the adult turtle inside of (this dirty and awful) pool surrounded by babies. The albino turtle wasn’t looking great inside of this, and all this scene and the place was heart breaking. If they can’t take care of those animals they should just release them, instead of keeping them captive in this kind of terrible conditions.
The main problem here is that they call themselves « Sea Turtle conservation center » and use this as a bonus for tourists. Those animals weren’t looking good at all, some of the babies were not moving and looked sick.
As a Sea Shepherd this is my duty to protect, conserve and defend marin life.
This place is scandalous, they also did kill previously a seacow that they treated the same way.
Please people boycott this place as they get really agressive when you question them about the turtle situation. If you like marin life and you want to protect them, you do not go there. It doesn't worth being part of this.
Friends getaway - Aug 28, 2017