The purpose of our Adventures In Utopia blog is to tell the stories of the people we’ve met, worked and played with. Shambalans, like you, who make up our diverse community.
Step forward, Helen Pheasey. Helen is what we’d call a Shambala veteran. She’s been rocking up and getting down with us since we were but a rag tag bunch of oddballs in a field in Devon. As well as being part of our amazing community, Helen is working towards a PhD in Biodiversity Management and is currently making serious waves as part of Turtle Tracks, an international effort to reduce turtle poaching in Central America. No biggie.
Sea turtles have swum the world oceans for over 100 million years but today they are threatened with extinction due to the activities of man. Turtles need to come onto land to nest and use beaches across the tropics to lay their eggs. Six species of turtle nest on Central American beaches and it is during nesting that turtles are most vulnerable to poaching. There is high demand for turtle meat, shell and eggs, but this demand is driving the extinction of turtles. When poachers take a turtle they often flip it onto its back to collect later – sometimes it is days before they return, or worse, they are left conscious on the beach with their front flippers hacked off to prevent them returning to sea.
Turtle Tracks is an incredible project, based around using cutting edge technology to 3D print ‘turtle eggs’ containing GPS tracking devices, to track the routes that poachers take, to the markets where these eggs are bought and sold. If this trial is successful this cutting-edge technology could go on to be used throughout the region and prove to be a game changer in future law enforcement.
But projects like this need funding – in this case, Turtle Tracks need to raise £3,500 to create 100 of these decoy turtle eggs. This is where you lot come in. Helen and the team have set up a crowdfunder to raise these funds – with some seriously awesome prizes, including a raffle to win 2 full adult weekend tickets to Shambala 2017. Check out the full list of prizes here.
The crowdfunder runs until February 17th, and we strongly encourage all of you to check it out, watch the video and donate! The world needs turtles in it, not just for their intrinsic value but also for the roles they play in marine ecosystems. Please support this campaign, sea turtles, and a fellow Shambalan by making a donation today and help Turtle Tracks to track poachers.