Much can be learned about the condition of the planet’s environment by looking at sea turtles. They have existed for over 100 million years, and they travel throughout the world’s oceans. Suddenly, however, they are struggling to survive – largely because of things people are doing to the planet’s oceans and beaches.
But what does this mean for the human species? It is possible that a world in which sea turtles cannot survive may soon become a world in which humans struggle to survive. If, however, we learn from our mistakes and begin changing our behaviour, there is still time to save sea turtles from extinction. In the process, we will be saving one of the earth’s most mysterious and time-honoured creatures. We might just be saving ourselves too.
South Africa has played an active role in this, protecting its own sea-turtle populations and researching turtle populations in neighbouring countries. An early pioneer in conservation techniques, South Africa has assisted many countries and researchers, and the sea turtles of south-east Africa are now extensively protected, with positive signs of recovery.
Between the Tides tells this remarkable story, as seen through the eyes of the author, whose interest in sea-turtle research has taken him all over the world and involved him in exciting expeditions, scientific controversy, political unrest, the companionship of wonderful people, both scientific and conservationist, and survival by sheer luck. His lasting reward has been his association with beautiful beaches and the wonderful family of sea turtles.
About the author
George Hughes finished a BSc (Hons) in Zoology in 1968 and pursued a higher degree in Zoology by studying sea turtles throughout the south-western Indian Ocean. Between the Tides is essentially the story of his eccentric experiences and the results of his original research, expanded and brought up to date following a life-long association with these fascinating and endearing reptiles.
George was CEO of the Natal Parks Board and then Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, and is the recipient of numerous awards including a lifetime achievement award from the International Sea Turtle Society. He has led many official South African delegations to conservation conferences with objectives as diverse as sustainable use, CITES and conservation economics issues. Having retired after 42 years in conservation work, he continues to be involved in sea-turtle conservation. He enjoys writing (297 publications) and lecturing and spent four years as chairman of a national radio programme Talking of Nature.