By Mark McConville
WATCH as a group of freedivers save the lives of five vulnerable Olive Ridley sea turtles entangled in a huge net floating across the ocean.
The heart-warming images and video footage shows the group spot the turtles floating in the distance before pulling up alongside them in their boat.
The video goes on to show the group struggle to free the turtles by cutting through the net with knives and releasing the grateful turtles back into the water.
The uplifting pictures and video show members of ApneaMaldives freediving and fishing brand attempt to save the stricken turtles in Male, Maldives, Embudu Reef.
“We were on a trip to a nearby island when one of the people on board showed me this huge thing floating far away on the ocean,” said freediver Ahmed Shammoon.
“I noticed something was struggling with it. I went to check on it and found it was four grown turtles and two juvenile turtles caught on a fish net floating in the ocean.
“I believe someone threw this into the ocean. We were able to rescue five of them but one juvenile was dead long before we could help him.”
ApneaMaldives hope their video can increase awareness around the problems of disposing rubbish into the ocean.
“Now the world’s oceans are filling with waste and plastics, everyone is talking about it,” said Ahmed.
“These beautiful, hungry creatures go near the rubbish in the hope of food but instead they get strangled and die.
“It doesn’t happen very often here but we hear of people encountering it more now. Turtles are very strong animals and a large number can be rescued but with heavy injuries.
“Everyone is emotional and it is hard to see how helpless they are. I could literally cry watching this footage and it just keeps coming back to my mind about the dead juvenile turtle.”
Ahmed hopes this kind of thing doesn’t put tourists off visiting the Maldives and thinks everyone should be doing their bit to keep the ocean clean.
“ApneaMaldives promote freediving and eco-friendly, sustainable fishing and eating what you catch,” he said.
“Maldives is highly focused on tourism and people are aware of the consequences of these kind of acts.
“The majority of the locals take care of the ocean, but these kinds of incidents happen due to bad acts of a few people.
“The Maldives is the paradise on earth that millions of people visit and pay to see. Let’s keep it that way, take care of our ocean.”
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