It started off with a passion and love to Mother Nature, sea turtles in particular. Eight local fishermen at Saba Village united to help sea turtles survive from the verge of extinctions. They named the group Saba Asri, which now has become an official Bali Sea Turtles Conservation Center. Saba Village is located in Blahbatuh, Gianyar Regency, just 15 minutes from the village of Tohpati in Denpasar following the Bagus Mantra highway.
The first person who came up with the idea was I Made Kikik, a full time fisherman around the area who realized that stray dogs have kept digging up and eating the sea turtle eggs way back in 2007. He started looking for more information on how to save and conserve them, leading him to Serangan Island, the site of the largest Sea Turtle Conservation in Bali at the time. By then he tried to implement all the knowledge he gathered to his own backyard with very simple facilities and resources. And only with USD 40 in this pocket . He started Saba Asri, he invited friends and relatives around the village to join the group and convince them of the importance of conservation and at the same time making them understand that this is a volunteering project with no income at all.
Not until early 2013 did the local government notice of the existence of this group and helped donate some funds to build a more proper conservation center by the beach. They blocked 5 acres of land for the group to go about with their activities related to everything this conservation needs. Since then Saba Asri was officially formed under the local community leader’s supervision. However, challenges did not ends there. They had to survive on their own in order to keep the group alive and carry about their mission to save sea turtles in this area. Financial support of course becomes the most critical part of the journey. Feeding hatchlings can be quite expensive; cost of electricity to keep the water running in the ponds and fees for each turtle egg brought in by members or villagers can also be quite high. Not to mention maintenance and more facilities they need to purchase to complete the conservation package.
“The hatchling’s can’t eat the frozen shrimp provided in the market, most of them is already have added chemical,formaldehyde to keep those shirmp fresh . which is can affect the turtle immune system badly . and they could end up dying if we don’t keep a keen eye on their daily Nutrition”
For the time being, they rely on donations by visitors who genuinely come and help release baby turtles to the ocean, which is not many by far. So they require more helping hands to help them survive, to at least feed the baby turtles and to cover the electricity bills. They don’t really care about their time and energy spent on this project, or even getting paid for it. Their dream for a better future and their dedication and love to this beautiful and innocent creature is what keeps them going