Saturday, February 14, 2009

Educating our kids may be our only hope

The best turtle encounters are those when you are all alone on beach, the turtle had picked a shaded spot and there are no poachers in boats on the horizon.

Two out of 3 isn’t bad then, especially when you consider that the audience were a group of locals kids and a very keen South African couple and their daughter, who were staying at Anse Forbans Chalet, an MCSS turtle monitoring partners in the South of Mahe.

On the 24th December, a turtle had been seen emerging on Anse Marie Louise by Andrew and Kirsten Legg (the South couple). They reported it to a local fishermen, who called Marcel and Elke to the scene.

While the MCSS turtle team watched on, the tourist went back to chalets to fetch their camera and came back with a horde of children in tow. These include their daughter Emma, and her new found Seychellois friends Connor and Imogen Howarth and Michelle Cebgewick. The group spent over an hour watching the nesting hawksbill turtle, diligently following the
turtle watchers code of conduct.

Connor staying as still as possible so as not to scare the turtle away, photo Elke Talma

Once the turtle began, laying, Elke and Marcel where able to give an impromptu lesson in turtle biology, ecology and conservation. The children had many questions, mostly directed at Marcel, who as a grandfather, had far more experience with inquisitive young minds.

Marcel holding court to his young entourage, photo Elke Talma

Following numerous turtle poaching incidents on neighbouring beaches, Elke and Marcel had been feeling a little depressed pre-turtle encounter, and had been discussing what could be done to discourage poaching both at sea and on the beaches. After an hour of talking to the kids and hearing their views on turtle conservation, it was reassuring to know that at least some Seychellois children are well informed about the plight of the turtles ... now if only we can keep the turtles alive long enough so that future generations can also share the same experience!

1 comment:

patricia said...

Love the blog and it's so true Elke.