Sea turtles have existed for over 100 million years, yet they are struggling to survive today!

Human activity - exploitation for its eggs, meat and shell, entanglement in fishing gear, and marine debris etc. - have placed them in grave danger.

There are major ecological effects of sea turtle extinction. They help maintain the health of the sea grass beds and beach vegetation, which protects against loss of marine life and beach erosion. A threat to these ecosystems can make all life vulnerable.

This is why initiatives such as the first Sea Turtle Protection & Awareness Festival in the #Maldives, held in #Laamu Atoll, is so promising. It helped reach more than 400 students from all over the atoll, and spread awareness around conserving this endangered and protected species. Shout out to festival organiser Six Senses Laamu, and host, the community of #Laamu #Maavah Island.

This was an exciting opportunity for UNDP Maldives and the #LECReD programme, to provide hands-on support, along with other partners. Our LECReD programme will keep the momentum going, as we conduct a survey of natural resources in Laamu Atoll. The survey will determine the key iconic species that require special management strategies for conservation, among others.

“The recent country-wide ban on catching of sea turtles, and collection of turtle eggs - which came to effect on April 1st of this year, is an example of concrete measures to protect sea turtles. Still, much more remains to be done. The Sea Turtle Festival has been a great step to raise community awareness, so that people can care enough to trigger meaningful change. Collective efforts are needed to ensure this magnificent creature continues to grace our world.” – Shoko Noda, UNDP Resident Representative.

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