Beyond the turtle photo bomber and the memes

We did not quite expect that Pawi the turtle photo bomber (yes, we named her Pawi from the Filipino word “pawikan” which means sea turtle) would be famous not just on my social media accounts but would go viral worldwide! Friends started liking and sharing the photo. It was picked up by the local news and soon the international media asked if they could feature it as well. Then boom, Pawi appeared  in 9GAG, boredpanda and even landed a spot on Time!

The photo became really famous and many took the effort to make memes out of it.


Like the numerous comments, it wasn’t really Pawi who photobombed, it was us. My friends and I realized that she deserves the spotlight. Through the photo, we promoted wildlife conservation, environmental protection and sustainable ecotourism.

Sea turtles are endangered!

Pawi may  be happily swimming in Apo Island but hundreds of her kind are out there threatened.

Source: Philippine National Police Maritime Group- Special Boat Unit

Last year 2014, the Philippine National Police (PNP) caught Chinese fishermen with more than 500 dead turtles on their boat. Chinese poach turtles for traditional medicine.

eggs_nov 2013
Source: Philippine National Police Maritime Group- Special Boat Unit

Back in 2013, the PNP Maritime Group arrested Malaysian fishermen in possession of roughly  10,000 sea turtle eggs, 2 sacks of dried sea turtle meat and 3 sacks of dried giant clams meat.

Source: D’Bone Collector Museum

A green sea turtle was found dead last April 2015, with these in its stomach.

FishForever Philippines april
Source: RARE Philippines, FIshForever Project

In another coastal town in the Philippines, a leatherback turtle was butchered for its meat.


Another turtle went viral last week because it was kept tied in a tourist area in the Philippines.

What can you do?

In your own way, you can do something. Pawi the turtle photobomber is a very good example that you can educate people and raise social awareness through social media. Do not buy sea turtle products such as meat for medicinal purposes and  jewelry from their shells. Do not patronize tourist attractions that exploit wildlife. Don’t throw your garbage into the ocean.

Save sea turtles!

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