Looking for Volunteers to Join our Turtle Protection Project on the Coast of Ghana

As you may know I run a project on the Eastern coast of Ghana which works to protect female leatherback turtles, olive ridley turtles, and green turtles which arrive on the coast to lay their eggs. 100_0593Traditionally the community kill and eat both the turtles and their eggs. We have been spending the last 10 years working to change this practice to ensure the long term survival of leatherbacks and other turtles.
The protection season runs from October to March inclusive. Please have a look at my report from last year’s season ( see previous blog).100_1315 - Copy

I am looking for volunteers to join the Turtle Protection Team and help them in their efforts. If you could join them from 1 to 3 months you could be a great help to the team.

Requirements : –
There are some costs involved :

flight ( £450 to £600 )
visa ( £50 )
cost of staying at Meet Me There as a volunteer, One Month £850, two Months £1250, three Months £1650 ( this covers all costs in Ghana including accomodation, all food, airport pickup, etc )
insurance and anti malarials

The Voluntary Work
You will be going out at night with the turtle protection team to patrol and find and protect laying turtles. As well as this you will be responding to sighting where you will be called to a laying turtle so you can protect her and her eggs. You will ensure the turtle gets safely back to the sea, and you will be relocating the eggs so they can hatch in a safe area.
A lot of this work is done at night, so you will need to be able to work at nights, and rest in the day. This is not always easy as all the other volunteers will be working in the day.
No experience necessary, but if you have experience in this line of work that would be a huge bonus.

Links:
If you are interested in joining us to work with us to protect this amazing animal please email me on hpnewton@hotmail.co.uk

http://www.dreambigghana.com/
This is the NGO that operates out of Meet Me There
http://www.ghanameetmethere.com/
This is the lodge you will be staying at.
https://www.facebook.com/MeetMeThereAfricanHomeLodge

I look forward to hearing from you.

Many thanks Hugh Newton.

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Report from The Turtle Protection Team for The Egg Laying Season 2013 to 2014

These are the results for the turtle laying season in the Volta Region of Ghana. The area patrolled covered about 10 km of beach along the coast, close to the villages of Dzita and Dzita Agdbledomi where Meet Me There African Home lodge is located.

This year I was able to raise enough money to employ a team of 10 local people. The funds were very kindly donated, mostly by friends, but also by the British Chelonia Group which Donated £250. The team was make up of one co-ordinator, two team leaders, and 7 turtle guards.P1010267

The team patrols at night when the turtles climb onto the beach to lay their eggs. They know when the turtles will come ashore, times mostly dictated by the tides, and the light of the moon.

Once the turtles have laid their eggs the team ensure that they get safely back to the sea. They then dig up the eggs and carefully relocate them to a safe stretch of beach close to Meet Me There. If the eggs were not relocated they would be dug up by dogs, and by local people. We then keep an eye on the eggs and make sure the newly hatched turtles reach the sea.

P1010259Each turtle lays up to 100 eggs at a time. Leatherback turtles are critically endangered.

The World Wildlife Fund reports that ‘the leatherback turtle has survived for more than a hundred million years, but is now facing extinction. Recent estimates of numbers show that this species is declining precipitously throughout its range’.

I believe that this project can have a considerable impact on turtle numbers. For me if this species became extinct it would be an absolute tragedy for us all.

Season Results

Total turtles found = 120

Leatherback alive = 63

Leatherback killed =19

Olive Ridley alive =31

Olive Ridley killed =7

Monthly Spend

Turtle protection Team of 10

Wages : – £ 330

Equipment, batteries for torches, phone credit = £70

Total Spend per Month : £400

Months spent patrolling : October to End of March = 6 times £400 = £ 2,400

BBC News Saving the Giant Turtle

This article by the BBC states that two thirds of the turtles that appear on the beaches are killed.

It shows a picture of some men dragging a leatherback off the beach with a tractor.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/843082.stm

For me this is very upsetting, and this approach is one we constantly face when we try to protect these animals.

The article states that 6 new sanctuaries are being set up along the coast.

I am trying to set up a sanctuary along a 20 km stretch of coast in the Volta region of Ghana.

If you would like to help save these turtles, please have a look at the website and get in touch with me.

I need your help! I am struggling to do this on my own.

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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