Thanda Island, an Indian Ocean hideaway located off the Southern coast of Tanzania, welcomed a female Green Turtle who came ashore to lay her eggs on the beach between the boathouse and the helipad earlier this month.
Due to the endemic illegal fishing practices that had been taking place in the waters around Thanda Island, turtles had not been seen nesting on the island for seven years. However, over the last year the Thanda Island team had started to regularly see them swimming in the surrounding waters. They are thrilled that their persistent pleas for increased policing from the Marine Parks Authorities, together with their own presence in the area, has been rewarded.
Thanda Island works closely with the Tanzanian marine conservation NGo Sea Sense to address a shared concern for the marine biodiversity of these waters. Assisting with research, education and the broader engagement of the local communities in sea turtle conservation, they are able to encourage dialogue and communication around the importance of sea turtle conservation and threats to sea turtle survival to the local Swahili seafaring communities.
Although Sea Sense has worked hard to implement a series of successful measures to reduce the routine poaching of turtle nests off nearby Mafia Island, Sunday night’s success story is made all the more poignant as the practice sadly has not yet been completely abandoned on the smaller islands around Mafia. More than half of all nests laid in Tanzania each year are laid around Mafia Island.
Thanda’s 20 staff undergo regular turtle conservation training comprising essential field skills such as nest protection, relocation (should it be required) and post-hatching excavations to record hatching success. With a 55-day incubation period, the hatchlings are due on 27th May when they will make the heart-felt and determined dash to the seashore.