SAVE TURTLE ISLAND !
Repeople beaches and Turtle Island, N'droudé, Grande Comore
Since 2010, The Swiss Cetacean Society –SCS, in association with the Fondation Ensemble (Together Foundation) and Earth and Wildlife Association (l’association Terre et Faune), support the work of a local team from the Ulanga Ngadizja association. Mohamed Said Hassani has a Doctorate in Chemistry and is a researcher in the Faculty of Science of the University of Comoros and others. His team consists of 4 ecoguards , including 1 woman.
The support of the SCS has ensured the operation of the local office, the salaries of the work team, their initial training and the production of a documentary.
Daily patrols are organized to protect the turtles and their eggs from poaching.
The work conducted over recent years has helped us compile a series of summaries describing scientific observations, this basic, yet valuable data still has to be processed.
Mr Said Hassani and his team have encouraged improved communication and information for local people (fishermen, villagers , government , children, media) to sensitize the local population to the fact that it is in their own interest to keep the turtles. That their role in the ecosystem is essential to ensure plenty of fishing, an essential source of local income. The possible ecotourism development could also be an alternative source of income.
Once launched, the project to protect the green turtle maintained by Ulanga Njazidja obtained environmental funding from "small grants" (specific program of the United Nations Development Programme or UNDP), receiving the amount required to build bungalows and a multipurpose room (also House of Turtle ) for tourism which have yet to be developed.
Only a few years ago, turtles had no chance of returning to sea on these very beaches and today they are timidly returning to them, renewing their faith in humanity.
Remarkable work was undertaken by the Ulanga Njazidja Association to achieve the objectives of raising awareness and preservation.
Most importantly, we have guided the return of the Green Turtle on their ancestoral spawning grounds for now and forever.
The foundation work just waiting to germinate are asked.
SCS wants to continue its collaboration with Ulanga Njazidja offering logistical support at the international level.
CONTINUATION OF PROJECT ISTHREATENED, like the baby turtle that journeys from its hatched egg to the ocean.
While we are witnessing the return of Turtles, funds are shrinking and
WE NEED YOU TO WRITE THE REST OF THIS STORY !
On 27/11/2012 at 5:00 am.
Turtle: length (1.15 m) , width (1.20 m) and plate ( 5).
This turtle was almost removed. She was attacked by poachers who still roam these beaches. But thanks to the vigilance of eco-guards the turtle was rescued and returned to its natural place.
Bordering the Indian Ocean, the village overlooks an islet named Turtles Island for they used to come there to lay their eggs. However times have changed…
Once revered and respected, the charismatic Green turtle (Chelonia mydas), so called because of the algae that gives the greenish tint to its flesh, has deserted the Turtle Islet and the beaches of N'droudé.
Native poaching is the main cause of their disappearance. Traditionally, several areas of the archipelago did not eat turtles because it was a forbidden food for the Muslim local community. Inter-island migration and the low cost of turtle meat now modify these eating habits. The price of meat is from 6 to 10 euros, and therefore relatively expensive but accessible.
The exploitation of turtle meat by poachers has always been a huge waste and has not changed today, for those who still manage to catch them. Turtles are indeed slaughtered before they have had time to lay their eggs, consumers claiming that the flesh tastes better in these conditions.
Eggs are always discarded. Fins, neck, guts and muscles are not consumed. Thus, 75% of the turtle is abandoned and left to rot on the beach.
Changes in eating habits, the difficult socio-economic situation and the phenomena of inter-island migration are bringing an increasing pressure on sea turtles. Fishing nets and plastic waste also make it difficult for the survival of the species, to such an extent that it appears now on the IUCN Red List as a species at risk, as well as the tiger or the shark.
In Ndroudé, part of the native community mobilizes to conserve the biodiversity of the island, such as the Ulanga Njazidja, the oldest environmental organization of the Comores. (The national infrastructure being poor in the Comoros, the responsibility of a significant portion of the business at a village level is taken by the local associations. These are legal Civilian Volunteer Organizations formally directed with officials, rules and regulations. Each village has one or more organizations involved in cultural affairs, health, environment, sports, arts, music, etc.).
Our common goal is to make the project sustainable in order to repopulate the beaches and Turtle Island. Their fantastic background work helped initiate an early awakening of consciences: to protect the animal, but also to save a human capital.
Legislation exists but needs to be changed and a big part of the Comorian population has a desire to grow their living conditions while respecting the environment, especially its youth. A marine reserve area should normally be extended to the area of N'droudé soon. Educational work must be carried on and scientific research has to be developed, as do partnerships. Infrastructures are now usable to diversify economic activity, such as sustainable tourism.
The Swiss Cetacean Society-SCS is a non-profit organisation devoted to the preservation of marine mammals in their natural habitat. We hold the conviction that better scientific knowledge of the animals and their environment is essential to ensure efficient protection measures.
With this aim in mind, SCS distributes general information about marine mammals to the Swiss public, encourages access to specialised training and organizes the logistics at sea of scientific and environmental programmes abroad.
Over the years, SCS has acquired a solid experience in the logistics required for scientific research for the protection of marine mammals.