TUI Turtle Aid

Sea turtles have lived in our oceans for over 100 million years. But six of their seven species now feature as ‘critically endangered’, ‘endangered’ or ‘vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, which is the world's most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of plants and animals.

Experts say that only one in 1000 baby turtles survive to adulthood under natural conditions. Although sea turtles eat and live in the water, they move to the land to lay their eggs. This means they are under constant threat from poachers who illegally hunt them down and from irresponsible beach use, which destroys their nests and kills their hatchlings. They are also at risk of suffocation from ingesting plastic bags (which they confuse with jellyfish, one of their staple diet items). Coastal development and climate change also play their part in endangering their survival.

As one of the TUI Care Foundation's key environmental programmes, the TUI Turtle Aid programme aims to protect the welfare one million new-born turtles in Cape Verde, Turkey and Greece. Working with ‘Project Biodiversity’ on the island of Sal in Cape Verde, DEKAMER in Turkey, and Archelon in Greece the projects focus on protecting turtle nests on the beaches, increasing hatchling survival rates and engaging the community and local stakeholders in protecting the marine turtle population. Ongoing outreach and engagement programmes also help to build local knowledge about turtle conservation.

Early morning and late night patrols help to protect the eggs from poachers and predators, and threatened nests are relocated into hatcheries. Sick or injured turtles are looked after in rehabilitation centres and environmental educational programmes help to build awareness in schools. Local tour guides are also taught about best practices on turtle watching excursions and stands are placed in partnering hotels where volunteers raise awareness of the importance of protecting turtles and give practical advice to visitors to help them enjoy their holidays in a responsible manner. The involvement of hotel partners is crucial to encourage responsible beach use, waste management and promote sustainable excursions. The programme also pioneers innovative research and protection methods to help safeguard the endangered global sea turtle population.

As part of the TUI Turtle Aid programme, we‘re also working with DEKAMER to track ‘Tuba’, a 25 year old turtle who was rescued from the sea after seriously injuring her shell. Now back to full health, we’re following her maritime journey around the Mediterranean with the help of a satellite transmitter, to learn more about where she searches for food and where she goes on her migration route.  So far, she’s covered hundreds of miles on her travels.

Through work like this, the TUI Care Foundation and its partners are vastly improving the odds of more baby turtles surviving, and in turn, helping to ensure sea turtles continue to thrive. And hopefully one day soon, they’ll be off the list of endangered species all together.

Project Partners

Project Biodiversity is a non-profit organisation on the island of Sal in Cape Verde, which is committed to the protection of loggerhead sea turtles; DEKAMER is a sea turtle research, rescue and rehabilitation centre in Turkey, which increases awareness about sea turtle conservation in tourism areas in the South Aegean coasts of Turkey; and Archelon, a non-profit association aiming to conserve sea turtles and their habitats in Greece.

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