The leatherback sea turtle
is massive. The reptile can weigh up to 700 kgs and measure up to seven and a half feet in length. But their impressive size doesn't mean the turtle can fend for itself. In fact, the world's largest sea turtle is also the most endangered.
That fact makes a recent video even more upsetting. A female leatherback had gone to shore to lay its eggs on a beach in Asukweri, Indonesia. The reptile had possibly swum for hundreds or thousands of miles to return to her preferred beach and was likely exhausted. After laying her eggs, she turned around and headed back to the water. And that is when a group of villagers intercepted her and decided to "have a little fun."
In the video, villagers take turns riding the struggling turtle.
They ride it as she tries to pull herself towards the sea. You can see her huff and puff as she digs her flippers into the sand to get traction to push her a little closer. But instead of letting her go, more and more people pile on to her back. One man hops on and poses as he "looks cool" having a snack on her back. In another instance, three people — two full grown adults and a baby — straddle the helpless animal. One of the men has his feet pressing against its head. Still, another man hops on and gives the "thumbs up" sign. But nothing is "thumbs up" about what happened to this poor creature. The leatherback already deals with a plethora of threats to its survival. Their eggs are harvested in some parts of the world, meaning that thousands of babies never even see the light of day. Others drown from fishing net entanglements and still others choke on plastic refuse we've thrown into the sea.
They shouldn't have to deal with this type of treatment as well. Tell officials in Asukweri to find the people responsible for this, fine them for their cruelty and ask them to step up measures to protect the sea turtles that nest on their shores.