Sea Turtle Conservation Education in Berau, Shocking: Sea Turtle Eggs can Incite Gout!

PROFAUNA continue visiting schools in Berau regency, east Borneo to have educational programs on sea turtle conservation. This program is considered essential, to provide information for young generations on sea turtle conservation issues. Apparently, PROFAUNA's prevailing effort has drawn the attention of local media, such as Berau Post, to cover it like on 9 March 2016 edition, as republished here:

After the break time, students of Islamic High School (Madrasah Aliyah Negeri/MAN) Tanjung Redeb returned to their classes. Despite the tired look upon their faces, they seemed to be enthusiastic for what was coming next.

On the last period, students of XII IPA 2 were supposed to have an English class, but that day there was a slight change. The principal, Ali Muttaqin Suryanto, provided the time for Protection of Forest & Fauna who came from Berau. Ali gave up his term voluntarily because he believes that PROFAUNA's mission to protect sea turtles is very important.

PROFAUNA's educational program is a follow up of the discovery that there are still many sea turtle shell-based souvenirs sold in Berau.

In concordance with the local government's call on the importance of sea turtles for the life in Berau, the 'Bumi Batiwakkal', the government planned to issue a regulation concerning the protection status of sea turtles.

Active participation of NGOs as shown by PROFAUNA is also interesting to observe. Bayu Sandi and Ana Gosling from PROFAUNA campaigned for sea turtle protection in front of 40 students, despite the fact that Ana comes from Germany.

Born in Hamburg, this 26-year old woman has been an environmental activist for a few years now. She went all the way to Berau to see for herself the natural habitat of the Orangutan and Sea Turtles which are getting rare.

Talking in English with the students, Ana told the students about her life as an environmental activist. She reminded everybody about the richness of Berau's natural resource and beauty, including all the plants and animals. However, economic development seems to be posing threats to it.

Because Ana talked in English, student who wanted to ask questions should also talk in English. This made a positive impact in improving the students' skill in communicating in English.

"Environmental and wildlife conservation issues should be given in early age, which is why we are glad to have PROFAUNA coming to our school. This time is special because we have a guest from other country, which can also motivate the students to use better English," said Ali.

On the occasion, PROFAUNA showed a sea turtle conservation film, had a short presentation, and played games with the students. Some students were startled knowing that sea turtles are still widely traded in markets for their meat, eggs, and shell.

A student named Dina raised a question about the importance of sea turtle protection in its natural habitat. Ana, with help from Bayu, explained the role of sea turtles in the ecosystem. Turn out that sea turtles eat decayed reefs and also help some fish finding shelter. Indirectly, sea turtles ensure that the marine ecosystem stays in balance. Human also depends on sea turtle to keep fish population sufficient, as a source of protein and other nutrition.

Another shocking fact is that consumption of sea turtle eggs has been proven to be inciting gout, due to the high cholesterol level.

"Therefore, all the myths about sea turtle eggs are wrong. In fact, it has more disadvantages. It is best for us to protect sea turtles instead of killing and consuming them," said Ana.

Before leaving the school, Ali and other teachers in the school assigned the students to write a summary of the discussion, and their view on sea turtle protection issues in Berau. The educational visit was closed with a group photo session with Ana, Bayu, and all teachers. The photos are expected to be a reminder for everybody to preserve the natural beauty of Berau.

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ProFauna Indonesia is an Indonesian society for the protection of
wild animals and their habitats