The Plight of Endangered Sea Turtle Habitats in Kuta Beach
Throughout history, almost all of the beaches in Bali used to be sea turtle landing sites. However, as time passed, only a few locations remain where sea turtles come to lay their eggs, and one of them is Kuta Beach. The Olive Ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) are the predominant species laying eggs in Kuta.
A non-profit organisation, the Bali Sea Turtle Society (BSTS), is trying to raise public awareness regarding the protection of sea turtles. BSTS with the local community runs the Kuta beach sea turtle conservation center. Together they rescue sea turtle eggs laid by the mother turtle along the Kuta beach and move them to the hatchery centre for a better survival rate.
The BSTS recorded that the number of sea turtles nesting in Kuta beach is decreasing drastically every year. Before the year 2020 they can rescue around 700 nests in a year. In 2022, they recorded only around 200 sea turtle nests found in Kuta beach. The number of sea turtle nesting in Kuta has been dropping every year, mainly caused by beach erosion due to rising sea levels, construction development and also plastic trash pollution.
“We have a problem now in Kuta beach because of erosion causing habitat loss, no more space for the mother turtle to lay the eggs”, says Wayan Wiradnyana, chairman of BSTS. “So another problem is also rubbish plastic. And everything will wash up to the beach when we have a west monsoon. That also makes it difficult for the mother turtle to come up to lay the eggs.”
“Compared to other years, this year 2023, just the beginning of the season in April, we only rescued around 20 nests, compared to the other years in the peak season we would have already rescued maybe more than 100 nests.”
Wayan Wiradnyana says that we may have entered the final years of turtles laying eggs on Kuta.