Dude, the Beaches Are Turning Turtle


Prod someone’s memory about Disney’s Finding Nemo, and you’ll find a fond thought or two for the chilled-out, backstroke-swimming dude called Crush the Sea Turtle. Just as Nemo turned clown-fish into ocean celebrities (with worrying consequences), sea turtles are now established as the languid, eccentric grandfathers of the sea, all thanks to those clever folk at Pixar.

But here’s the grim reality. All sea turtles are either threatened or endangered. Not cool.

The good news is there’s a Cousteau on the case – Fabien, grandson of world-famous ecologist and ocean pioneer Jacques (who would have been 100 this year). He’s working with biologist Dr. Wallace J. Nichols to fill the oceans with sea turtles – a billion of them. Sound absurd? Not when you consider that adult turtles each lay clutches of up to 250 eggs in just an hour-long sitting.


If you aspire to be one of the lucky ones hiding behind the shoreline of one of the special beaches of the world where turtles lay their young (e.g. Key Biscayne, Florida), the Billion Baby Turtle Project will work to protect the experience and the creatures behind it – and it all starts in El Salvador. From there, a worldwide network of government bodies, volunteers, non-profits and former egg collectors will work to shore up (as it were) the nesting grounds of turtles for generations to come.

Images: nosha, Marcio Cabral de Moura

Mike Sowden

Mike Sowden is a freelance writer based in the north of England, obsessed with travel, storytelling and terrifyingly strong coffee. He has written for online & offline publications including Mashable, Matador Network and the San Francisco Chronicle, and his work has been linked to by Lonely Planet, World Hum and Lifehacker. If all the world is a stage, he keeps tripping over scenery & getting tangled in the curtain - but he's just fine with that.