‘I would like to save sea turtles’

A baby sea turtle making its way down the beach. Image Credit: Agency

Anushka Chakraborty, Grade 11, The Indian High School, Dubai

How many sea turtles do you think are killed every year due to fishing?

An estimated 4,600, according to a 2011 study.

Sea turtles are a vital part of the aquatic fauna. They maintain the oceanic ecosystem by facilitating nutrient cycling from water to land and preserving healthy sea grass beds and coral reefs.

The number of endangered species keeps increasing day by day and human interferences are a major reason behind this. Every day, tonnes of plastic waste are dumped into water bodies and sadly, sea turtles often mistake plastic for a viable food source, and this plastic causes blockages in their digestive system. As the production of plastic increases, the number of sea turtles drop distinctively. Turning a blind eye towards this issue is not only inhumane but also unethical. Plans and foundations like the Emirates Nature-WWF and the three-year National Plan of Action for the Conservation of Marine Turtles in the UAE proves that we’re in the right direction but we still have a long way to go. Six of the seven species of sea turtles are now classified as threatened or endangered.

They are also victims of poaching because of the trade of their eggs, meat and shells even though this is now declared as illegal in many countries including the United States, Canada and UAE.

Climate change and coastal development are also major contributors to the dwindling number of sea turtles.

Being the ‘smartest species on the planet’, isn’t it our duty to save them?

‘I would like to save big cats’

A Bengal Tiger at a zoo. Image Credit: Agency

Rose Vincent, Grade 8, The Indian High School Dubai

The big cat family is amongst the strongest and most beautiful creatures on this planet. Their majestic characteristics are loved by millions of people around the world. In spite of enjoying such endearment, almost half of these 38 species are endangered to some degree, including tigers, Asiatic lions, snow leopards, clouded leopards, panthers, etc. Of all these animals, the tiger has been listed by the Word Wildlife Fund as one of the 10 key creatures facing imminent extinction. In fact, it is widely believed that 60 percent of the world’s total population of wild tigers resides in India. About only 100 white tigers are left in India. According to various estimates the number of tigers around the world went down from 30,000 in 1939 to 3,890, out of which 2,226 are in India.

Of all the tigers, the Royal Bengal Tiger (the national animal of India) fascinates me the most. One of the fastest mammals of the world, it is the joy and pride of India. It is worshipped by some, protected by many and killed by others. The WWF says that these tigers are “poisoned, shot, trapped and snared” for their teeth, claws, skin and bones.

To protect these animals, India’s Project Tiger was launched and laws against poaching and killing have been passed. However, it is not enough. Now, we need to play relevant roles to protect these charismatic animals and save them extinction.

‘I would like to save the saola’

A Saola in the wild. Image Credit: Supplied

Diya K. Menon, Grade 10, Our Own English High School — Sharjah Girls Branch.

The spindlehorn is truly an exquisite mammal yet remains unknown to most of the world. Just a look at its innocent face and contrastingly sturdy body. It is enough to make you fall in love with it. It has only been photographed thrice in the wild. The Saola is found only in one place in this whole world, the Annamite Mountain Forests at the borders between Vietnam and Laos, thus increasing its probability of going extinct. The discovery of this new type of mammal happened back in 1992 in Vietnam, where forest officials came across the skull of an unidentifiable two-horned mammal in the home of a hunter. The Saola came across as a totally new type of mammal, unknown to the world before its discovery and thus, maintains its low profile.

Their faces are so intricately painted with shades of cream and brown, with captivating eyes and elegant horns. These beautiful creatures, like most other endangered animals, are threatened by the loss of natural habitat as well as commercial poaching. They are also said to be hunted for bushmeat. They are so critically endangered and unfrequently sighted, that their total population is a question to this date.

These creatures are worthy of protection and conservation just like any other animal on this planet. They too, like you and me, must have the right to walk on this earth which is their home ground as well.