Meet Jo, a 5 year old green sea turtle that we take care of. Jo was born in our hatchery in 2006. When we went to release her in the sea with her other brothers and sisters, she was found running in circles on the sand because of a weak arm. That's when we realized that something is wrong with her and a close inspection also revealed that she has no eyes. She was born this way probably due to some kind of genetic or developmental anomaly from mistreatment of the egg while transfering from the original nest. A turtle without eyes will not survive in the ocean or on land. This is just natures way of making sure that only the fittest individuals survive. So by keeping her in our sanctuary we are not tampering with the natural course here.
Jo has a lot of value in her tank on land. In the wild she would be dead, and would serve a purpose to the eco-system, but likely in a smaller way than she can on land. We keep her not as a pet, but as an educational tool to use to help protect more turtles and habitats etc. And we take good care of her here, and do treat her as a member of jtp as well. Jo eats fish and vegetables, mostly leafy green vegetables now. We used to feed her all squids and then fish with a bit of vegitable, but now she needs more leaf nutrients (like sea grass) as she gets older. We encourage all our visitors to have a close look at Jo and satisfy their curiosity about turtles. You can touch or pat her too, she is quite used to it and likes it. Get close to this turtle and leave all other turtles in the wild alone.
Jo is not yet full grown. When a green sea turtle reaches full grown, at 30 years it can be as long as 1.5 meters and weight 150 kilo. Probably she will never mate, there is no real point in it, maybe her insticts are messed up as well. She will not be getting eye surgery (people as that), our money could be much better spent on bigger issues. We would like to have her sent to a larger and better facility soon as she will be getting much larger. Maybe an aquarium, or the Marine Parks center, if they can provide for her well. If you would like to help us with this matter, please do communicate. We really need all the help we can get.
In fact, we ask everyone to live a turtle safe life. Anyone who would like to help, first and foremost, try to follow the minimum interference policy - leave the turtles alone. If you happen to spot a turtle in the water while snorkeling or diving in this island or anywhere else in the world, don't try to go and grab that animal - you will only succeed in scaring the animal and possibly hurting it too. Watch it in its natural habitat doing its natural thing. This will result in a much better experience for both you and the turtle. Also be respectful of the environment, don't litter and pollute. Try not to get involved with any kind of exploitations of sea turtles. Don't buy shell souvenirs or ornaments, don't eat turtle eggs or soup. And do not forget to spread the word among your friends and family.
Thank you for joining us today. Hope you liked our turtle talk.