Mon, Sep 05, 2011 - Page 15 News List

Scuba diving instructor saves endangered sea turtle

A hawksbill sea turtle struggles to free itself from a fishing net in New Taipei City’s Longdong Bay on Aug. 23.

Photo: Wu Liang-yi, Taipei Times

When scuba diving instructor Yin Te-cheng was recently diving with a group at Longdong Bay in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District late last month, he spotted a sea turtle trapped in a net that looked as though it was on the verge of death. Yin spent half an hour freeing the turtle from the net.

Yin did not realize the turtle was a critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle until he got a closer look at it. According to Yin, it looked like the turtle had been trapped in the net for several days. It was swimming just three meters from the surface, and a thin layer of seaweed had even started to grow on its shell. Yin hurried to free the turtle from the net without any hesitation.

Hawksbill sea turtles typically inhabit the areas around tropical coral reefs and eat seaweed, algae, and invertebrates such as sponges and urchins. In the past, humans and other animals encroaching on their habitat have threatened their nesting sites. Together with illegal hunting, this has resulted in rapidly decreasing hawksbill sea turtle populations around the world.

An average adult hawksbill sea turtle is about a meter long and weighs on average 80kg. The heaviest hawksbill turtle ever caught weighed 127kg. The turtles are predominantly found in the tropical reefs of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

Yin said the turtle would have drowned or starved to death if it had been freed a few days later. Fortunately, it was found and freed in time. As soon as it recovered its freedom, the turtle swam into the depths of the ocean.





1. on the verge of death

prep. phr.

奄奄一息 (yan1 yan1 yi1 xi2)

例: Everyone was shocked to see her quick recovery because she was on the verge of death for days.


2. inhabit v.

居住 (ju1 zhu4)

例: We still don’t known which species inhabited the island millions of years ago.


3. predominantly adv.

普遍地 (pu3 bian4 de5)

例: The population of the Philippines is predominantly Catholic due to centuries of Spanish colonization.






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