A search has been launched by Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary to find a passionate youngster to become the region’s official Sea Turtle Champion.
Wildlife charity the Sea Life Trust is making Sea Turtle conservation its priority campaign for 2017, and the Sea Life aquariums want to help by recruiting young ambassadors to lead a global awareness drive.
Hunstanton’s Nathanial Stephenson said: “They will help win support for efforts to reduce the plastic pollution that proves so hazardous to sea turtles, and to highlight measures to reduce bycatch and protect nests.”
Whichever young marine life enthusiast is chosen to represent Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary will later have a chance of becoming the ‘National’ champion and journey to see sea turtle protection work in the wild.
He or she may even get to be International Sea Turtle Champion, and become the face and voice of campaigning by the Trust and around 50 supporting Sea Life centres across the world.
“All seven species of sea turtles are endangered,” said the head of the Sea Life Trust, Andy Bool. “There are many vital conservation and protection programmes underway worldwide but like all such efforts they can only succeed if there is widespread public support for them.
“That’s where our champions come in. They can help direct greater public attention towards all these projects, including the trust’s own endeavours, and help make this year a real turning point in the fortunes of these magnificent and iconic sea creatures.”
One trust project is support for a pioneering scheme using LED lights affixed to fishing nets to prevent sea turtles getting caught and drowned, a project which looks set to save the lives of more than 1,500 sea turtles off the north coast of Peru over the next two years.
Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary wants young sea life fans aged between 11 and 14 to send in their own sea turtle stories.
Entries can be either a factual account of events involving a real-life sea turtle that they have researched for themselves, or a fictional story using factual details about the particular biology and lifecycle of whichever species is their subject.
Stories must be no more than 1,000 words, illustrated if possible, and can be submitted by email to Slchunstanton@merlinentertainments.biz or in hard copy to Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary, Southern Promenade, Hunstanton, Norfolk, PE36 5BH. The closing date is Tuesday, February 28 and the winner will be announced by Friday, March 31.
“The first assignment for our Champion will be to work with a member of our entertainments team to put together an educational video about the plight of sea turtles, which will feature Ernie our Giant Green Sea Turtle,” said Nathanial. “That film will appear on our website and Facebook pages and will be judged along with similar films from other regions to find the National Sea Turtle Champion.”