An indigenous man saves a rare leatherback sea turtle.

Elias Pereira, who posted the photos, wrote that he and his mother were walking along Trinidad’s Grande Riviere Beach when they saw the huge creature confused in a body of water made by a storm. A small lake had formed at the end of the river, making it impossible to get to the beach. He said that the female leatherback turtle had just laid her eggs and turned around. Pereira, who is 17 and wants to become a marine biologist, led the turtle back to the ocean. “It felt great to give back to the ocean, something that had given me so much wonder and awe,” he wrote in an email to The Huffington Post.

Later that day, he also said that he talked to a turtle conservationist who told him that if he hadn’t saved the leatherback, it would have died in the river. Tribes all over the world believe that the turtle is important to their culture. The Mexican state of Sonora is home to the Seri people. The leatherback sea turtle is an important part of their culture because it is one of their five leading creators. When a turtle is caught and then set free again, the Seri people hold ceremonies and parties to honor it. The Seri people have seen turtle populations drop significantly over the years, so they started a conservation movement to help.

Grupo Tortuguero Comaac is the group’s name, which is made up of both young and old people from the tribe. They use both traditional ecological knowledge and technology from the West to help control turtle populations and protect the turtles’ natural environment. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species says that the species is Vulnerable. National Geographic says that leatherbacks are the largest sea turtles in the world because they can grow to be 7 feet long and 2,000 pounds. They are at risk.

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