Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Seychelles Tourism Police – an untapped resource in turtle monitoring activities

The tourism police is proving to be a useful partner in the MCSS monitoring activities. Not only do they assist with security when monitoring Beach #7, but they are now reporting turtle sightings around Mahé.

Christopher Adrianne (left) from the Police Tourism Unit assisting with the turtle poaching incident previously reported, photo Michel Vely

MCSS Research Officer, Elke Talma, was advised by Christopher Adrianne, a Tourism Policeman who is based in the South of Mahé, that one of his co-workers had seen a turtle nesting on Petite Anse the previous day. Not one to miss an opportunity, Elke went to pay Vincent Petrous a visit, and sure enough the tracks were still there. The turtle was seen emerging sometime after 12:30, dug 3 times before laying and was still on the beach at around 15:00 when the Indian labourers working on the Four Seasons Luxury Resort Project went on the beach for afternoon tea.

Both Vincent and Christopher are extremely enthusiastic about turtles, Christopher having seen 3 turtles to date and Vincent having had his first encounter that day, and is eagerly waiting for “his” turtle to return so he can see her laying.

Petite Anse, a perfect beach for nesting turtles but somehow they never got the memo, photo Elke Talma

Such enthusiasm and interest, can only benefit turtle conservation in Seychelles as the Tourism Police Unit, which was set up in October 2007 as an auxiliary unit in the Police Force, monitors a number of beaches on Mahé, Praslin and La Digue. These policemen and women are on the beach primarily to reduce cases of thefts but are empowered under the Beach Control Act of Seychelles to arrest anyone committing an illegal act – nudist and turtle poachers alike, beware!

As they are on the beach all day, the Tourism Police Unit are in a prime position to report turtle nesting activities to both MCSS and Ministry of Environment.

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