A few days ago, Fritz, a resident Pangulasian Island guide, saw a Hawksbill Sea Turtle hatchling at Snake Island. Probably no more than a week old, this young one was separated from its group and found itself stranded on the island shore. Seeing that the turtle was weak and vulnerable in an island popular among tourists, Fritz decided to take it home to Pangulasian Island to see if anything could be done for the little guy.
Normally, things like this are better left to Mother Nature, for her to do her own thing and let things run their course. But is it right to leave a dying turtle to the mercy of the elements? Or, is it wrong to interfere with the “natural course” and take matters to our own hands?
There is no definite answer to these questions, but in my opinion, Fritz did the right thing. He took the turtle home with him to give it a chance at survival. We decided to wait until after sunset before we released the turtle to sea, to afford the little guy some better concealment against its predators.
But the problem was, the turtle did not move at all. He seemed like he was dying – probably from exhaustion and hunger. Was nature telling us to just let him go?
I decided to keep the turtle for one more day. Maybe things would be better for him tomorrow? And at this point, we were getting worried about what he was going to eat.
But there was a dilemma. If we fed him, we would be crossing the line and hindering the turtle from learning how to fend for himself. So for the second day of its stay in luxurious Pangulasian, no special treatment was given to the turtle. No food or water for the little guy.
Finally, his deadline came: Sunset of Day 2. This was it – if he still didn’t want to swim, I would let Mother Nature take care of him. But to my surprise, the seemingly dying turtle hatchling was now swimming in the water – even duck diving through the waves like a surfer. In a few seconds he was out of sight and back home in the water. And if you ask me how he learned to do all that and where he got all that energy, I’d say it was probably the hunger from not eating for days.
So I guess there is a lesson to be learned here, not just for when we come across stranded Hawksbills, but also in the overall way that we commune with Momma Nature. Sometimes, the fine line between taking matters to our own hands and allowing nature to do its own thing, is not so fine at all, and we arrive at a point where we have to use our own judgment to see what is best for a situation. But we have to remember to never to get in the way of nature, because in the end, she always wins.
True, we may have to be flexible at times to adapt to a situation, especially these days where environmental problems are getting more complicated, but the principles must always be here to stay.