Nest Monitoring and Protection
This is Local Ocean Trust’s flagship programme.
In 1997 some local residents of Watamu decided it was time to take action to protect sea turtles in the area and Watamu Turtle Watch was born.
This work still continues today with a dedicated team of LOT Beach Monitors conducting patrols day and night to protect nesting female turtles, their nests and their hatchlings.
What happens on these patrols?
- Searches for nesting females
- Searches for evidence of new nests
- Recording locations of nests
- Searches for hatching nests
- Searches for stranded turtles
- Monitoring of illegal activities within the Marine Park
- Data collection from nesting females e.g. taking measurements, recording tag numbers, tagging new females
- Checking any encountered turtles for disease, injury or signs of parasites.
Watamu has been designated one of Kenya’s three most important nesting sites for turtles and while the beaches in this area are predominantly Green Turtle nesting grounds, there has been an increasing number of Olive Ridley and Hawksbill turtles encountered.
We have nesting and hatching occurring almost all year round, however the busiest time occurs from April to July.
Nests are left to incubate in situ unless laid in an area threatened by sea wash, in which case they are carefully relocated to a safe area.
In addition to natural predation, sea turtles in Kenya face rampant poaching, loss of nesting areas due to commercial beach activity, as well as unmanaged and illegal developments within riparian and beach areas. The artificial lights from developments cause problems too, nesting turtles usually avoid bright lights when looking for a nesting site. Also, hatchlings become disorientated by these types of lights and will head towards them rather than to the sea. They will then die due to dehydration and predation.
What Can You Do To Help?
Since 1997 over 600 nests and 50,000 hatchlings have been protected through this programme. Help us to continue this valuable work. You could come and help us on an Eco Visit or hold a fundraiser