Marine and Wildlife Conservation
On the whole of the African coast, sea turtles are under threat. Our aim is to establish sustainable programs to address and put measures in place to counter these threats – not only to turtles but marine life in general.
Various organizations are involved in this marine conservation:
- Fire Island Turtle Protection Program
- Marine Mega-Fauna Foundation
- Maputo Special Reserve Turtle Monitoring & Protection Program
- Centro Terra Viva – Turtle Tagging & Tracking
Threats to Marine Conservation
The local communities traditionally eat turtle meat and while their consumption in the past was not a threat, the growth in human population, decline of natural fish resources, and other new threats, makes the harvesting of turtles eggs and meat not sustainable.
There is still a market for turtle shell products in Africa and the Far East despite the fact that it is banned, and turtles – especially hawksbill – are taken for their shells which are then smuggled to China and Japan.
Tons and tons of plastic end up in the oceans and on the coral reefs. Some turtle species feed on coral and some on jellyfish. Plastic gets ingested accidentally on the reefs or when it’s mistaken for jellyfish. The turtle’s digestive system gets blocked and they die of starvation.
Countless turtles end up in fishing nets both from local fishermen and commercial trawlers that are using gill nets illegally. Because these areas are so remote the local authorities do not have the resources to do law enforcement.
- Supply local authorities with boats and vehicles to help them do law enforcement and have a regular presence in remote areas.
- Turning the poachers into protectors: Locals who have been harvesting turtles are trained as Turtle Monitors and eventually Turtle Guides.
- Training done in the Maputo Special Reserve where they have a very successful community-driven turtle conservation program.
- Candidates are also trained to tag turtles which will help with research on an international level.
- Tracking: Turtles are fitted with sat-nav tracking devices. These turtles can be “adopted” and benefactors will be able to track them online.
Social Development: The Long-Term Sustainable Solution
- Creating alternative food sources.
- Educating rural communities in the sustainable use of resources.
- Documentary: The whole process is being documented on film for the production of a series of programs for international TV as part of an awareness program. Material will also be used to produce a semi-animated series for children.
- Outdoor mobile cinema: The people that really need to see the programs do not have television. We will create a series of programs featuring different species that are endangered. The will be narrated in the local languages. A special off-road vehicle will be built with big screens to take the programs to remote communities (part of our Volunteer Program).
- Interactive travel packages for groups and individuals: The travel program will help to create awareness and give people the opportunity to really be part of the conservation effort.