When you think of the Colombian Navy, you’re likely to associate them with the prevention of drug smuggling or arms dealing on the Pacific Coast, but they don’t just stick to protecting the country by preventing crime and violence; they’re also known for a slightly gentler job – escorting baby turtles into the ocean.
It might come as a surprise that Colombia’s Navy would be involved in the protection of turtles, but it isn’t just a job for anyone.
Every year, thousands of Olive Ridley sea turtles are abandoned by their mothers; they are forced to make the dangerous journey from their nests to the sea, all alone. It might sound like a simple enough task – just shuffle over the sand and you’re there, but the distance can be up to 20 metres, and when you’re a teeny tiny turtle then you’re faced with a whole array of dangers. Amongst the perils of journeying alone, the turtles risk being attacked by dogs, birds and crabs, as well as being poached for their shells, meat, skin and eggs. The tiny creatures are also at risk from the incredibly strong sunlight.
Lucky Victoria Kellaway, who is the co-author of a humorous book on Colombia – Colombia a Comedy of Errors – was at the scene to capture photographs of the navy assisting turtles on El Almejal beach, near Bahia Solano in Chocó. Just look at how adorable these tiny guys are.
A British writer, Victoria Kellaway now resides in Colombia after falling in love with it during her travels – and with baby turtles freely crawling around, who can blame her.
The images she takes perfectly capture the navy’s sensitivity when it comes to handling the helpless animals, and their patience in remaining with them until the very last one has made it to safety.
Anyone know if the Colombian Navy is up for hire? We could really do with an escort for our Saturday night drunken journeys to the bus stop…