Not all heroes wear capes. On Saturday 16 January 2016, we got a call from a local Watamu fisherman who had unintentionally caught a Hawksbill sea turtle in one of his fishing nets.
We immediately acted on the call and sent out Fikiri, our By-Catch Net Release Programme Coordinator, to check on the health and wellbeing of the sea turtle before releasing it back into the ocean.
The youngest fishermen yet to participate in our Bycatch Release Programme rescue a very special turtle
Amos (13) and his younger brother, Elvis (12), went out fishing in Mida Creek this morning and came across a small hawksbill turtle trapped in the roots of the mangroves. The two boys rushed over to help the poor animal fearing that they may already be too late. They quickly set about trying to free the turtle and found to their relief that it was still alive.
What they didn’t know however, was that the turtle they had so bravely rescued, has a very special story.
Protecting Mida Creek and the Arabuko Sokoke Forest
This group was established in 2009 in an effort to reduce the dependence and pressure on the resources of Mida Creek and the Arabuko Sokoke Forest. The 25 members began conservation activities such as mangrove planting, promoting the use of sustainable fishing methods and engaging in participatory forest management, as well as practicing crop and animal farming.
Protecting Arabuko Sokoke Forest
In a half acre plot, thousands of different indigenous and exotic trees and plants are growing in a nursery located near the Mombasa Malindi highway. This nursery is as a result of hard work, perseverance and dedication of 11 women.
Protecting the nests of the South Coast
Since 2012, a team of volunteers in Diani, on Kenya’s South Coast, have been working hard to protect nesting turtles and their eggs.
Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume With Care.
World Environment Day was established in 1972 by the United Nations General Assembly and is celebrated each year on the 5th of June to raise global awareness in taking positive environmental action to protect nature and the planet.
A lifetime spent saving turtles.
Recently, our Watamu Community Liaison Officer, Athman, was in Malindi to visit an old man who has a very special relationship with Watamu Turtle Watch. The old man’s son had earlier come to bring greetings from his father to Athman, with whom he has worked together and has a long standing friendship.
A spirited group of young fishermen with a growing interest in conservation
A group of 30 spirited young fishermen in Darakasi were inspired by the efforts of Watamu Young Fishermen and decided to approach our Watamu Community Liaison Officer for help.
Two months of nothing to do. Nothing except sit on the sofa, drink tea and be totally and utterly bored. This is what I had to look forward to for my long Christmas holiday, but instead of accepting this I decided that I needed a project. This is where Watamu Turtle Watch comes in!
12,000 turtle releases and counting, new nests on the beach and educating the next generation.
As we get into the month of February we are pleased to share with you the positive start we have had to the year.
We started the year in great spirits after conducting the 12,000th release of our By Catch Release Programme in December 2014. We were so grateful to the many supporters and friends who were in Watamu and joined us on such short notice to mark this special occasion.
Making a Change for Tomorrow
Watamu Young Fishermen group is a registered self-help group with 40 members. The majority of members are between 18 and 30 years old and have had very little formal education to make them competent in the job market. They turn to fishing as an alternative source of income and food for their families. What they lack in formal education they make up for in the extensive knowledge they have about the ocean.
The next generation of marine conservationists!
As the year draws to an end, so too does this year’s Marine Scout Programme. To conclude the hard work of our Local Ocean Marine Scouts, we invited their parents to the project for an end of year celebration.
All the Marine Scouts arrived at the project at 4pm with their parents. They looked really smart in their uniforms and their faces shone with excitement as they love their time at LOT.
A Community Group with a Difference.
Situated north of Watamu, Jimba Village is set a little further back from the coastline. The Jimba fishermen use the landing site in the neighbouring coastal village of Kanani.
As the Kanani area is one of the worst for turtle poaching, our conservation and community work needs to be conducted in a tactful fashion. Simply storming in with the police in tow and pointing out whom the ‘baddies’ are, is not the way forward and would lead to an escalating situation between LOT and the fishermen with the turtles paying the ultimate price. Instead, LOT Community Liaison Officers Sammy and Athman work closely with the fishermen to show them why turtles are needed in the marine environment and that there are not many left.
Young Hawksbill Recovering from Ghost Net Injuries
This young Hawksbill Turtle is the second 'ghost net' victim to be admitted to our Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre within a week. This video shows it enjoying some prawns in the tank.
A Quick Recovery By Recent Ghost Net Victim
The Hawksbill Turtle that came to us last week, recovered very quickly. The very active turtle was released over the weekend back to the Indian Ocean.
Discarded fishing nets, known as 'ghost nets' are a worldwide problem and cause many fatalaties in a variety of marine animals. This little Hawksbill, tangled in 3kg of ghost netting, was very lucky to be found by LOT team member Lewa on one of his early morning beach patrols. The turtle was able to recover from the bruising and regain strength in our Rehabilitation Centre before being released from Watamu beach.