The Cairns Underwater Film Festival was held last night at the Civic Centre in Cairns, showcasing the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef, as well as local and international film and photographic talent. The festival has recently been restructured into a non-profit organisation. It is organised by a board of members, including Mike Ball and Pangaea’s very own Christian Miller.
All the proceeds go directly to local environmental projects including the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre (CTRC). Over and above the funds raised by ticket sales, the passionate Pangaea Representatives (Christian Miller, Saraya D’Ath, Tiffany de Klerk) along with some of the CTRC Volunteers, designed and made 550 shirts to be sold to raise additional funding in order to tackle the current increase in turtle strandings. Due to recent and past cyclones and environmental disasters essential sea grass that sea turtles rely on has been decimated and completely eradicated in some areas. This has resulted in a 500% increase in Turtle strandings in the last 3 months. The turtle rehab centres along the northern Queensland coast are now at capacity and there is a desperate need for larger facilities.
But there is light at the end of the tunnel.
The idea was that festival attendees would donate AU $15 or more and receive a t-shirt and raffle ticket to win spectacular prizes that were kindly donated by sponsors. The support was encouraging and some donated as much as AU $100 to CTRC. All in all AU $3 741,55 was raised and will be used to expand Cairns Turtle Rehab and help build Australia’s largest centre on Fitzroy Island. We are also planning to build an Educational Centre and incorporate other Act projects over the coming months. A few more papers need to be signed before we can officially announce this exciting project, but we already started to extend the existing facilites to accommodate an addional eight Turtles.