Protecting Turtles This October

Our Turtle Protection Team has been patrolling the beaches along the coast of Ghana this October. So far they have managed to protect 14 Olive Ridley Turtles, and 5 Leatherback Turtles. Sadly, they have also found 3 Leatherback’s that were killed.

GE DIGITAL CAMERASo, the turtles are again coming up onto the beaches to lay their eggs. I worry each year that they might not arrive, considering the threats they face from huge commercial fishing fleets and from all the plastic rubbish in the sea. But here they are again, thank God. And, without the protection of this team, kindly funded by friends in the UK, they all would have been killed on the beach. So, thank you everyone who has become involved in protecting these beautiful animals.

Slaughtered Leatherback

Slaughtered Leatherback

Sadly, this is one we were not able to save. This pregnant female ( you can see the eggs on the left ) was killed and eaten before we could get to her.
For me it is understandable that people want to eat these critically endangered animals ( they always have ). I am trying to replace this source of meat with contributions into the community and with employment as turtle guards and guides. This female, if she has survived, could have laid up to 100 eggs, and would have revisited twice more to lay this season.

Article In Ghana Web about Turtles

I found this article on the Ghana Web.

http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=4578&comment=0#com

It gives a very good overview of the problems faced by turtles trying to lay along the coast. It states that, from Tema to Ada, in 1997 there were 3,543 turtle nesting sites found on the coast. This is a fantastic number, and if all these sites were protected would infuse a considerable number of new turtles into the turtle population. Unfortunately many of these turtles were ‘harvested’. The articles also talks about how people and dogs hunt for and consume the eggs. We have found this to be a considerable problem, and when we find eggs we relocate them to a safe hatching spot. Below is a nest that has been raided and destroyed.

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