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I was almost home after a long, dangerous sea voyage. Two days ago, my friend and I were chased by humans who threw spears at us. My friend was killed, but I got away as they pulled him into their boat. One of the spears had pierced my flipper, an aching reminder of the loss of my friend. Still, even in my pain, I had the urge to swim quickly to reach my home.

click picture to enlarge
picture by Velarde González, Mexico

A sinking feeling touched me as I reached my birthing grounds – I saw the sad state of my favourite coral reef. It had been the most beautifully formed coral reef I had ever seen in all my years of travel. Now colourless broken corals were scattered everywhere. Cans and rubbish were stuck in coral. The gardens of my memory lay in ruins.

While studying these changes, I didn’t see what was ahead of me – until it was too late. A net! While struggling to get free, I was violently pulled to the surface. Humans hoisted me out of the water and I was hung from a hook and poked with tools. Then the humans did the strangest thing – they put me back in the water. My fear and exhaustion were almost overwhelming but I struggled on painfully. Upon reaching the top of the beach, blood trailed behind me. I had been cut by glass left in the sand.

Slowly I dug a deep hole. I laid my eggs, rested briefly and then headed for the sea. The lives of my babies might be difficult in the decaying seas of the world, but our species would carry on. I reached the water and waves of white foam washed over me. Feeling weak from blood loss, I suddenly felt as if I was choking. Something was covering my head. A plastic bag! I had no more energy to wriggle it off. As my pulse began to slow, my eyes closed into darkness.

On the beach, a heavy construction machine lifted the sand into a pickup truck to make way for Paradise, the newest tourist resort being developed in the area. Nobody noticed the turtle eggs in the sand.
Helena Sims, Seychelles

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