The Green Sea Turtles that inhabit Indonesia’s coastal waters are now considered an endangered species. Sadly, this is because of harvesting for meat, eggs, and shells. Additionally, their existence is threatened by the loss of nesting grounds, water pollution, and entrapment in fishing equipment, marine debris and plastic bags. Yet the strength of the sea turtles’ maternal instincts makes them seem invincible. Turtles are believed to have an expected life span of 80 years or more; it takes 15 – 30 years for the female to reach maturity, and she may travel more than 1500 kilometres, using some sort of magnetic navigation, in order to return to nest on the beach where she hatched.
InterContinental Bali Resort rests alongside Jimbaran Beach, which is still a popular spot for female green sea turtles to come ashore at night and lay their eggs in the sand.
As part of its ongoing commitment to supporting the local community, InterContinental Bali Resort works closely with a local Turtle Conservation & Education Centre to retrieve these eggs, and ensure they are carefully incubated in a secured environment to then hatch safely. The eggs take approximately 60 days to hatch, and the hatchlings are then cared for in a holding tank until they are strong enough to swim in the ocean. If unaided, the young have to try to make it to the sea on their own; a perilous journey that often ends in the mouth of a predator. For those who do make it, the risk of getting eaten once they enter the ocean is also high. It is estimated that only one in 1,000 will survive to adulthood.
Once the baby turtles are big enough, they are released back into the sea, an action that helps to increase this endangered species’ long-term survival rate. Guests at the Resort can help Bali’s on-going environmental conservation by participating in InterContinental Bali Resort’s year-round Turtle Release Programme, which is organised twice-weekly in front of the Resort on Jimbaran Beach. Just before sunset – a crucially significant time for releasing turtles – the baby turtles are ‘adopted’ by guests and carried down to the shoreline in water-filled coconut shells and released into the sea as the sun sets. This is preceded by a simple Hindu ceremony on the beach. This heart-warming experience of releasing baby turtles back into Jimbaran Bay is especially popular with children, teaching them good conservation habits from an early age. Each participant of this worthy cause receives a signed certificate, a professional photograph posed with the baby turtle and an artistic handicraft souvenir.
Michel Chertouh, Regional GM IC Bali said, “Our Turtle Release Programme is an activity that we have offered at our hotel for many years. This is our way of connecting our guests with the importance of turtle conservation. This is a gratifying experience that always leaves a smile on the faces of our participating guests”.
It is hoped that the sea turtles will continue to visit this very special stretch of beach, and that – many years from now – some of these babies will also return to lay their eggs. In the meantime, InterContinental Bali Resort is proud to continue the legacy of turtle conservation in this area. The preservation of life is indeed a precious gift.
Priced at Rp.300,000 net per turtle, with proceeds going to the local Turtle Conservation & Education Centre, InterContinental Bali Resort’s Turtle Release activity takes place every Thursday at Sunset Bay View and every Sunday in front of Sunset Beach Bar & Grill from 5.00 pm onwards. Guests who would like to participate should register their interest with the Leisure Concierge on ext. 87245.