Tourism Australia Post of Woman and Turtles at Ningaloo Reef Western Australia Cops backlash
A picture of a woman swimming with sea turtles in reef waters was quickly deleted after an online backlash from Australia’s main tourist board.
It showed the woman in a black swimsuit floating with about 30 protected sea turtles on Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia, after it was uploaded last week.
But the stunning photo was deleted from Tourism Australia’s social media after critics responded that the “mating turtles” should be left alone.
The post was removed five days after it was inundated with 700 comments, Yahoo News Australia said.
Animal rights activists and photographers called on Tourism Australia to encourage travelers to get close to endangered species like sea turtles.
The social media post showed the woman in a black swimsuit posing with around 30 protected sea turtles at Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia and was uploaded by Tourism Australia last week
Animal rights activists and photographers have urged Tourism Australia not to encourage travelers to approach endangered species such as sea turtles (pictured a sea turtle on Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia).
“Why a state tourism agency would post a photo like this is beyond me,” said one commenter.
“We trust the government to protect wildlife and then they post a photo like this.”
But the image inspired others to visit the idyllic spot.
“Can we go here together?” one commented when they tagged a travel partner.
The bird’s eye view picture showed the woman lying on her back in shallow, crystal blue water surrounded by turtles near a pristine sandy shoreline.
It was originally captured and posted by social media account Frame Chasers last November.
The photo was taken at the same time as the turtles mating season.
Tourism Australia’s caption said the Frame Chasers were “lucky enough to witness a turtle party” while visiting Exmouth.
“These majestic sea creatures can be seen in this part of @westernaustralia year round, but if you visit between November and March you can witness hatching and nesting,” it said.
“We recommend booking a guided turtle watching experience.”
However, some pointed out that the turtles in the picture were most likely gathering for mating and warned against encouraging tourists to approach them at this time.
USC marine scientist and graduate student Caitlin Smith said a number of male and female turtles can be seen in the image, suggesting they are breeding.
She said turtles can be very stressed at this time and advised swimmers not to go near turtles during mating.
“Sea turtles can be disturbed during the mating season,” said Peter Barnes (pictured), coordinator of the DBCA’s marine program in Exmouth
While the reptiles in the photo didn’t appear distressed, she was concerned the image might prompt others to try and take a selfie with the endangered species.
She did, however, commend Tourism Australia for recommending tourists take guided tours in its post.
The WA Department of Biodiversity and Conservation Code of Conduct for Turtle Watchers states that there are strict rules in place that protect turtles during mating.
“Sea turtles can be disturbed during the mating season,” said Peter Barnes, coordinator of the DBCA’s marine program in Exmouth.
“Anyone encountering this natural phenomenon in the water should step away and observe from a practical distance to avoid disturbing the animals.”
He added that there are signs at various stops along the Jurabi coast in the area where the photo was taken.
Wildlife biologist Ellie Sursara (pictured) said disrupting turtle nesting and breeding grounds, even for just one photograph, could discourage turtles from mating and laying eggs
Ms Sursara added that the photo pushes the boundaries of Western Australia’s Turtle Tourist Code of Conduct and Tourism Australia’s commitment to responsible travel (pictured a turtle on Ningaloo Reef).
Wildlife biologist Ellie Sursara said that disturbing turtle nesting and breeding sites, even for a photograph, could discourage turtles from mating and laying eggs.
The avid photographer said it was important to keep a safe distance from wildlife.
“Knowing the rules helps me deal with wildlife safely, responsibly and legally,” she said.
She added that the photo pushed the boundaries of Western Australia’s Turtle Tourist Code of Conduct and Tourism Australia’s commitment to responsible travel.
Daily Mail Australia makes no suggestion that frame chasers acted illegally or irresponsibly.
Frame Chasers and Tourism Australia have been contacted by Daily Mail Australia for comment.
Code of Conduct for Turtle Watchers in Western Australia
There are three important stages in the sea turtle reproductive process: mating, nesting, and hatching.
Guided turtle tours are recommended for those interested in spotting nesting sea turtles.
Keep the distance recommended in the code of conduct.
Dogs should be kept away from turtle nesting sites.
Do not touch or disturb resting, sleeping or mating turtles.
Unnecessary contact with turtles is a criminal offence.
Trash can harm all marine life, including turtles.
Regulations prohibit ships from dumping any waste, including refuse or sewage, within a marine park.
Source: Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions.
What the hell? FUN FACTS ABOUT THE SEA TURTLE:
- Six of the seven sea turtle species live in Australian waters
- They belong to a group of reptiles that have existed for over 100 million years
- The largest and heaviest turtle ever recorded was 914 kg and almost 9 feet long
- Turtles are of great cultural importance to many indigenous cultures
- They maintain the health of seagrass beds and coral reefs — and benefit commercially valuable species like shrimp, lobster and tuna
- Turtles use the Earth’s magnetic field as a global GPS, determining both their latitude and longitude to head in the right direction
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk
https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/celebrity/tourism-australia-post-of-woman-and-turtles-at-ningaloo-reef-western-australia-cops-backlash/ Tourism Australia Post of Woman and Turtles at Ningaloo Reef Western Australia Cops backlash