Students Dream of Sea Turtles Returning to China
Serving as an educational center, the Sea Turtle Shelter of The Ritz-Carlton, Sanya hosted the first group of international students from Li Po Chun United World College of Hong Kong. During the entire day, the students learned, worked and contributed to the release of a rescued sea turtle as Sea Turtles 911 volunteers. Students were educated on marine conservation and volunteered at the Sea Turtle Shelter, raising awareness to tourists about the importance of sea turtles to our environment. As Frederick Yeh, Founder of Sea Turtles 911, said, "Saving sea turtles is crucial to the realization of the Chinese dream because turtles are natural resources, providing sustainable development and ecologically services that improve people's livelihoods."
With on looking tourists, the students released an one year old endangered sea turtle named "Meng Xiang", which means "Dream" in Chinese, back to the ocean. "It's amazing to see her swim back home, but we are worried for her because her ocean home has become dangerous with poachers and pollution. We dream of her returning back as an adult turtle decades later to lay eggs on the beaches," said Brandon Yeung, a student volunteer. Due to environmental degradation and human consumption pressures, sea turtles have stopped laying eggs on the beaches of Hainan island for the past 20 years. In an effort to raise awareness, student volunteers of Sea Turtles 911 constructed numerous sandcastles in the shape of sea turtles laying eggs on the beach. Many tourists on the beach were curious about why the student volunteers were making sea turtle shaped sandcastles. "We told them we were shocked to discover sea turtles being sold in our markets and hope people would stop buying them, so we wanted to use art to express our dream for the turtles," said Clinton Wang, a student volunteer. The sand art evoked visions of successful conservation efforts, giving the public a glimpse of the future if people worked together to protect the environment so the turtles could return safely to the beaches.
Mr. Michel Goget, General Manager of The Ritz Carlton, Sanya, emphasized that conserving our marine environment for future generations is the key idea for the Ritz-Carlton, Sanya, He said, “Since 2009, we began to cooperate with Sea Turtles 911 to protect sea turtles through the recursions, foster cares, freeing animals and other activities. We made people aware of the importance of the protection of sea turtles through continuously educating our hotel guests and local community. We spoke of rescuing sea turtles in the South China Sea in order to create more survival chances for the sea turtles in the Hainan region. At the end of last year, we finally built a shelter for sea turtles. The handicap turtles can freely enjoy 5-star care as educational ambassadors of the ocean, and rehabilitated turtles have a temporary place to stay for careful behavioural monitoring just before they begin their journey back home into the ocean. Together with Sea Turtles 911, we have also developed a sea turtle conservation lesson, which focuses on educating our little guests and local students about the importance of sea life and social responsibility at their early age, while they help feed endangered sea turtles at the shelter. The Ritz-Carlton, Sanya will continuously support this meaningful partnership to enliven The Ritz-Carlton Community Footprints, which, in addition to environmental conservation, focuses on hunger, poverty relief and the well-being of children.”
The Ritz-Carlton, Sanya has been a foremost proponent in saving sea turtles and preserving the ocean environment. In close collaboration with Sea Turtles 911, the hotel has built a Sea Turtle Shelter in January of this year for handicap turtles unable to survive in the wild, and rehabilitated sea turtles awaiting to be released back into their ocean home. After the opening of the Sea Turtle Shelter, many guests and friends from local, domestic, and overseas have come to The Ritz-Carlton, Sanya, supporting environmental conservation to maintain a tropical paradise in Sanya.