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.
A Fiesty Hawksbill Comes To Visit
Tenacious Polly was first seen by Local Ocean Trust in October 2009. Even as a juvenile, with a carapace length of just 46.1cm, Polly was looking to get her crushing jaws on any unsuspecting fingers! We tagged her with the number 4858 and set her free.
A Success Story from our Turtle Rehabilitation Centre
Glen is a juvenile Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata). This species is considered to be critically endangered worldwide according to the IUCN Red List.
Glen came to us through our By Catch Release Programme. Although he had been caught in a net, our Field Officers quickly noticed a deep wound on the top of the turtle's head. They brought Glen straight back to our Turtle Rehabilitation Centre for treatment.
The turtle that we just can't stop talking about!
We’ve had over 11,000 sea turtle releases since we started our turtle by-catch program. Over the years, we have seen so many turtles with interesting and unique body features. A few weeks ago, we came across a juvenile turtle unlike any other we have ever rescued and released. This was because the turtle had a combination of physical characteristics which suggest that the turtle may have been a cross between a green and hawksbill turtle.
The happy story of young Hawksbill
Sasha is a young Hawksbill turtle that came into our rehabilitation centre tangled in discarded fishing nets. This video tells her story.
A quick stop in our Rehabilitation Centre and then back to the ocean!
This Hawksbill Turtle has spent the last 36 hours in our Rehabilitation Centre. The turtle was covered in barnacles, it's underside was the worst affected but they were also on the top of the carapace, head and flippers. We kept the turtle in fresh water to loosen the barnacles and then gave it a good clean up before setting it free from a beautifully sunny Watamu beach today.
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.
Another Victim of Ghost Nets
This Hawksbill turtle was found by one of our nest monitors, Lewa, on his early morning beach patrol. The turtle was tangled in a large amount of discarded fishing nets. The nets had also entangled a sack which was full of sand and a substantially sized branch. This totalled nearly 3kg of weight for the turtle to drag around.
A huge milestone for our project!
On Monday 7th July we successfully completed our 11,000th turtle release through our by catch net release programme. Through this programme we work closely with around 350 fishermen who contact us when they have accidently caught a turtle in their fishing gear.