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Cousin Island Special Reserve, Seychelles
Raising awareness on sea turtle conservation

I have chosen to produce a documentary showing the endless wildlife that calls Cousin Island home and the beautiful habitat they live in. I am Emily Corden, 20 years old and studying Marine and natural history photography at Falmouth University. I am in my third and final year of the course.

My main interests lie in the Hawksbill turtles that live around, and nest on the island. This is a species that has suffered huge losses at the hands of humans, exploited for their shell, meat and eggs.

The hawksbill turtle is also a victim of habitat destruction and degradation. Hawksbills are listed as critically endangered on the IUCN redlist and there is a lot of effort being put into their protection and conservation.

By incorporating the footage I get from Cousin and interviews conducted with people who are working to conserve the sea turtle, I hope to use the documentary to raise awareness about the plight of sea turtles and the importance of conserving this species, not only on Cousin island but also globally.

I am now three weeks into my project and it is very early in the hawksbill nesting season. So far there have been three nests laid on the island and each has been recorded with information such as beach location, the number of eggs, the tag number of the mother, her length and width and much more. This information can be used to explore the biology and ecology of this species, the Cousin data set is one of the longest running data sets worldwide for Hawksbills.

As the season continues I will capture as much of the turtles behaviour as possible, from the adults feeding on the surrounding reefs to the emergence onto the beach, the laying process and finally the hatchlings as they race down to the sea and take their first swim for safety.

So far on Cousin I have had an abundance of wildlife to film and photograph whist the turtle breeding season really gets going. The rest of the island and the species that live here, both on land and at sea, are what truly makes this place special. My documentary will show as much of this as possible to portray the important role that conservation plays, not only for one critically endangered species, but for the entire habitat it uses to survive.