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Author inks plight of turtles

Dawn Gibson
Tuesday, July 29, 2014

IN A bid to raise awareness about the plight of turtles in Fiji, particularly among young children, WWF South Pacific has launched a book for children based on turtles common in Fiji.

The book, titled Sisi's Big Day Out, takes a look at the colourful, curious and often dangerous life of a young turtle named Sisi, who is growing up amid the beautiful coral, contrasted against the pollution from humans in the ocean.

Authored by WWF South Pacific's marine species co-ordinator Laitia Tamata, the book features colourful illustrations and informative insights into the life of Sisi and her helpful grandmother — both of which represent the five commonly found, yet threatened, turtles in Fiji — the green turtle, hawksbill turtle, loggerhead, leatherback and the olive ridley turtles.

"This book has stemmed from personally, covering all the endangered species in Fiji. So, apart from raising awareness through scientific presentations and community workshops, something we have discovered is the importance of targeting children," Mr Tamata said in an interview yesterday.

"So we're using the characters in the book to do that.

"This includes their lifespan and the threats they face — all in the form of a storybook so kids can identify these issues and learn from this at a younger age."

He said an important part of the story, among so many others, was when Sisi almost swallowed a floating plastic bag because she thought it was a jellyfish.

"This is a very simple book and it basically takes us through what turtles are feeling."

Plans are to get copies of the book into schools in Fiji.

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