Penghu County Agriculture and Fisheries Bureau released 15 rehabilitated turtles back into the wild after inviting students from local elementary schools, National Penghu University of Science and Technology, and members of the general public to participate in the event this morning, May 15.
Six of the turtles had hatched during the 2015 and 2016 breeding seasons, but had been too weak to climb out of the nest on their own. The juvenile turtles were now around 30 centimeters long, and weighed about 3 kilograms. The other 9 turtles were adults that had suffered injuries and had been found by fishermen or coastal patrol personnel. Seven of the adult turtles were green turtles, and two were hawksbill turtles.
County Magistrate Chen Kuang-fu urged the audience not to litter, and to reduce consumption of single-use plastic articles in order to maintain a clean ocean environment. Chen emphasized the importance of protecting and restoring the marine ecosystem. Chen said that every year, 8 million tons of trash ends up in the ocean globally, and that turtles often mistake plastic bags and drinking straws as food, leading to injury.
Chen said that the county government in recent years had been addressing the problem of marine pollution by holding beach cleanups, and also underwater cleanups targeting discarded fishing nets.
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