Six green sea turtles, bred and exhibited at the Sumida Aquarium in Tokyo, are set to be released back to their original habitat on the Ogasawara Islands sometime this August. The Ministry of Environment has designated the green sea turtles as a vulnerable specie in their list for animals in danger of extinction.
The turtle eggs were harvested in July last year and sent to the aquarium when the babies hatched. Now that their shells measure 20 centimeters, they decided to return the turtles to their original home. Starting June, the museum will also have workshops on how to care for the turtles through observation, shell measurement and feeding. The aquarium is also looking for kids from the third to sixth grade to apply for their “green sea turtle researcher” program. The chosen volunteer will help museum staff with turtle breeding and will also join the team in their “expedition” to the islands to release the green sea turtles in the ocean. An aquarium official said this is a great opportunity for the chosen young researcher to experience first hand how to protect vulnerable species like the green sea turtles.
The aquarium will also be building a six-meter tank replicating the Ogasawara Islands, in cooperation with the Ogasawara Village Office. Also known as the Bonin Islands, they were declared a World Heritage Site in 2011 because a lot of the plants and animals there went through a unique evolution process since they have never been connected to a continent.