Turtle-based tourism given boost

turtleeye_020204

Turtle-based tourism in Tanzania has been given a boost by a successful community-based conservation programme.

Turtles are endangered worldwide, but the five species of turtles found along the Tanzania coastline are now increasing in numbers.

An intensive education and awareness programme has enlisted local fishermen and villagers in the conservation programme.

Turtle nests are now protected and monitored in many parts of Tanzania.

The longest and best documented programme is on Mafia Island, recognised as a regionally important nesting ground for Green and Hawksbill turtles.

Communities living near traditional turtle nesting areas now record and protect turtle nests through local village monitors. The villagers are paid around $10 for each nest they discover and guard.

Village monitor Omari Abdulla is enthusiastic about his responsibilities.

During the nesting season he visits beaches where turtles have come to dig a nest and lay their eggs.

Once a nest is spotted, Mr Abdulla records its location, the number of eggs and ensured it is protected.