Concerned about light pollution? Turns out it’s not just harming the birds -- baby turtles are also being affected. In nature, newly hatched turtles are guided toward the water by the light of the moon, but, thanks to the lights from beachfront buildings, the little guys are heading in the wrong direction, moving more inland and away from the safety of the water. Baby turtles lured by the big city lights often don’t make it -- they fall down drains, are eaten by local wildlife, or are hit by cars.
The crew of Planet Earth II, however, had other plans for the group of little turtles they were filming. Going against Sir David Attenborough’s rule to never interfere with nature, the crew helped by putting the baby turtles back in the sea where they belong.
Every turtle that was seen or filmed by the #PlanetEarth2 crew was collected and put back into the sea.— BBC Earth (@BBCEarth) December 11, 2016
So what made the interference okay this time around? The fact that the problem was man-made to begin with made the difference. While Sir David has previously been criticized for showing dying animals on his TV shows, the fact that this problem was not natural-made it perfectly suitable for the crew of Planet Earth II to offer their assistance.
The good work doesn't end there, however. The BBC has released a mini documentary on the Barbados Sea Turtle Project, an organization that rescues baby turtles who are drawn in by the artificial lights of the city. This web exclusive shows workers saving the hatchlings from urban areas, including the making of tiny lassos to rescue baby turtles from the sewer drains. Just warning for potential viewers: there is also footage of turtles who unfortunately did not make it while crossing the roads.