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Indonesia turtles find new freedom as they scurry into sea
[PARIAMAN, INDONESIA] A group of turtles scurried down a beach and glided into the sea, enjoying their newfound freedom after being cared for at an Indonesian conservation centre.
The sea turtles were released by local tourists in Pariaman city, on western Sumatra island, in front of the Turtle Conservation Technical Operating Unit.
Turtles, which are under threat due to poaching and habitat destruction, are protected under Indonesian law and the government-run facility mainly focuses its work on olive ridley, hawksbill and green turtles.
The centre typically finds newly hatched baby turtles and looks after them for several months to ensure they will survive, before releasing them into the wild.
Once brought to the facility, they are kept in small pools which contain filtered sea water. The water is changed daily to ensure it stays fresh and the turtles' shells are given a scrub.
Around 1,000 baby turtles and about 50 adults are currently at the centre, which was set up in 2009.
There is also a breeding facility where unhatched eggs are sometimes taken and kept in incubators.
The centre has handled more than 30,000 sea turtles since its establishment. Visitors can pay 10,000 rupiah (97.38 cents) to release a turtle into the sea.
Six of the world's seven turtle species can be found in Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 17,000 islands that is home to a dizzying array of exotic wildlife.
Almost all turtle species are endangered. Their eggs are considered a delicacy and they are also slaughtered for their meat, skin and shells.