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A photo taken by photographer Mark Fitzpatrick won the 2020 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards. Of the 7,000 photos submitted, Fitzpatrick’s work was one of 42 finalists in the contest in September. Then on Tuesday (October 27, 2020), it was announced that Fitzpatrick’s photo of a turtle “holding up his middle finger” was the winner.
The story behind it As reported by Insider on Wednesday (October 28, 2020), Fitzpatrick was swimming off the coast of Lady Elliot Island in the state of Queensland, Australia. While he was diving, that’s when a sea turtle he named Terry came towards him.
Fitzpatrick then waited for the right moment to photograph the turtle, and when the turtle moved its flipper, it appeared there was a part that looked like a middle finger there.
Not waiting long, Fitzpatrick immediately pointed his lens at the turtle and photographed the unique pose. In the photo, the turtle is depicted as an animal with a sullen face and raising his middle finger, as if he were annoyed. In a press release, contest organizers Tom Sullam, Paul Joynson-Hicks, and Michelle Wood said Fitzpatrick’s photo was “clearly the judges’ favorite.”
As the winner of the contest, Fitzpatrick was entitled to a safari in Masai Mara, Kenya, a Think Tank camera bag, and a Nikon camera. Fitzpatrick said it has been amazing to see the reactions to the photo.
“Terry made people laugh in a difficult year for many and helped spread an important conservation message.” He continued, “I hope Terry the Turtle can encourage more people to take a moment and think about how much our incredible wildlife depends on us and what we can do to help them.”

The Gili Islands, particularly Gili Trawangan, Gili Air, and Gili Meno, are known for their thriving populations of sea turtles. These islands have gained a reputation as excellent places for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts to spot these beautiful creatures. Green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) and hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) are the two most common species found in the waters around the Gili Islands.

Here are some key points regarding the turtles in the Gili Islands:

  1. Snorkeling and Diving: One of the main attractions for visitors to the Gili Islands is the opportunity to see sea turtles while snorkeling or diving. The clear waters and healthy coral reefs provide an ideal habitat for these creatures.
  2. Turtle Points: There are several well-known dive and snorkel sites around the Gili Islands where sea turtles are frequently encountered. Some of these spots have been named “Turtle Points” due to the reliable presence of turtles. For example, “Turtle Heaven” is a famous spot on Gili Trawangan known for its high chances of seeing turtles.
  3. Conservation Efforts: The Gili Islands have implemented conservation efforts to protect sea turtles and their nesting sites. These efforts include monitoring and protecting turtle nests, educating visitors about responsible wildlife interactions, and supporting turtle hatchling releases.
  4. Guided Tours: Many dive shops and snorkel tour operators on the islands offer guided tours specifically focused on turtle encounters. These tours often include experienced guides who can help you find and observe sea turtles while respecting their natural behavior and habitat.
  5. Responsible Tourism: It’s essential to practice responsible tourism when interacting with sea turtles. Avoid touching or chasing them, maintain a respectful distance, and refrain from feeding them. Flash photography should also be avoided, as it can disturb the turtles.
  6. Breeding and Nesting Sites: The islands provide nesting sites for sea turtles, and during nesting season, you may have the opportunity to witness female turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs. These nesting sites are protected, and conservation efforts aim to ensure the safety of the eggs and hatchlings.

Remember that the well-being of these magnificent creatures is of utmost importance. By adhering to responsible and sustainable tourism practices, visitors can help protect the sea turtles of the Gili Islands and contribute to their conservation efforts.

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