Title:
Turtle Release
Photographer:
Stella Freund
Age Group:
Over 18s
Region:
Pacific
Country:
Fiji
People And The Oceans
Camera Used:
Nikon D3X
Image caption:

Emosi Time, locally called a "Turtle Monitor" carries a massive Hawksbill turtle for tagging. Emosi, son of Kavewa’s village chief, is known as a Dau ni Vonu or Turtle Monitor. He used to be a turtle hunter, catching turtles for turtle meat offered in traditional Fijian funerals and celebrations. Since 2011, Emosi has turned from the dark side and is now a guardian of turtles.

The Turtle Monitors are members of 10 local community field sites where turtles are under threat, often remote from islands. It was not long ago in Fiji that eating turtle meat was commonplace; many people grew up eating turtle meat. Today efforts from WWF South Pacific and the Turtle Moratorium banning the harvesting of turtles are beginning to change habits. And an important way of changing behaviour, especially on remote islands, is through the work of Dau ni Vonu. Oftentimes former turtle-hunters themselves are the best rangers - finding feeding adults, nesters and eggs for research.

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