The harsh reality of survival in paradise
I WAS very upset to see one of the baby turtles released on TV’s Blue Planet Live being eaten by a seagull. I visited Borneo and had a wonderful experience on Turtle Island, which is devoted to the conservation of these creatures and allows only a small number of visitors to stay for just one night. We stayed in the only accommodation on the island, which is very basic, as is the food. We doubted we would see a female turtle digging a crater to lay her eggs on the beach, but at 2am, the call came and we were guided silently by a ranger to the top of the beach. The eggs were collected carefully and taken to the nursery. Still in darkness, we witnessed the release of a group of baby turtles that had hatched in the nursery and saw them swim to the sea. It was the most lovely experience. What I don’t understand is why the baby turtles were released in daylight in Blue Planet Live. I feel what I experienced in Borneo was as nature intended, with the baby turtles entering the sea in the dark. I fear that what the TV show portrayed was not conservation, but was dictated by the needs of making a programme.
HEATHER KNIGHT, Sutton Courtenay, Oxon. WE WERE charmed when presenter Liz Bonnin helped a tiny turtle hatchling out of a depression in the sand on the last few feet of its journey to the safety of the sea. Seconds later, a seagull was seen strutting along the shoreline with a helpless, snack-sized newborn turtle in its beak, though the commentary made no mention of it. The RSPB would have us believe these crafty hunter-scavengers are endangered, despite acquiring skills such as depriving holidaymakers of their alfresco meals with pinpoint timing or cheekily sauntering into shops to snaffle bags of crisps. Come the end of the world, man-made or otherwise, surely two pest species will survive: cockroaches and seagulls. TERRY HICKMAN, Southampton, Hants.
Snatched in a second: Blue Planet Live presenter Liz Bonnin is unaware that a seagull (circled) has caught a baby turtle just behind her