Turtle rescue

Believe it or not, there was a ray of sunshine that came out of the tsunami that hit Indonesia in December.

While undertaking the harrowing task of finding the survivors and the dead, searchers started coming across sea turtles in odd places. Several had been swept inland by the wave, and left stranded almost a mile from the ocean, The Guardian reports (bit.ly/resqturtles).

Disaster volunteer Eko Sulistio organized a seven-person rescue team to haul the turtles back to the ocean and release them. It was no easy task, since they weigh about 400 pounds each. “They were heavy,” Sulistio told The Guardian. “Four of us were needed to carry one turtle. Some were flipped over, or under rubble. We made a stretcher with tarpaulin, rice sacks and sticks.”

The group managed to save more than 20 sea turtles, many of which are on the threatened or endangered species list. A second team from the Serang Nature Conservation Agency saved 13 more. A photo of a rescue is shown, courtesy of Eko Sulistio and The Guardian.

After the loss of life caused by the tsunami, the turtles were a ray of hope. “It’s an unbelievable feeling to see them returned to the ocean, their flippers touching the water,” Sulistio observed. “It’s the most beautiful scene.”

Elleda Wilson is an editorial assistant for The Daily Astorian and author of the award-winning In One Ear community column. Contact her at 971-704-1718 or ewilson@dailyastorian.com.

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