These trinkets are


Life is short.

A few hours old, you are already aware of the inescapable truth:

Soon, it will end.

You leave your comfy egg, longing for the real world,  its endless ocean of opportunity.

Your life starts with the race to the water, only a few meters away from your nest.

You start running.

In your genes: The birds can’t catch you.

But you are alone on the flat sand.

Suddenly, you don’t feel the sun anymore. You feel cold. 

A darkness engulfs you as you are picked up from the ground. 

Your fear level pikes up.

The birds couldn’t catch you –  but humans did.

You are bounced around until you join your new living quarters: 

A plastic basket  filled with other turtles - most have only known this desolate place.

Starved for days before you are picked up by a human.

You feel a repeated scratch against your back, like being flayed on a pirate ship. 

Alcohol penetrates your nostrils, and lungs. Chemicals in the air make you weak. 

You are dropped into another bucket - one of your legs breaks on impact.

You wish you had been snatched by a bird instead.

Days in complete darkness. The bucket suddenly opens and the bright lights blind you.

Hours come and go in the bustling street.

While you are climbing on other turtles to try to escape the opaque basket,

You feel the hand of a little girl. She has chosen you as her new prized toy.

Although banned, the sale of baby turles as trinkets is common

Over 300 million are sold annually - impossible to track

Public opinion can force the government to act.

Story and photography by