Saturday, August 22, 2009

Local sponsors help MCCS Research Officer to attend Regional Turtle Training Workshop

There are at least 73 identified sea turtle nesting sites spanning 11 nations, and five species across the Western Indian Ocean. Many of these sites have some level of monitoring, ranging from expensive seasonal aerial surveys to infrequent nest protection and beach patrols. Most often these programmes are achieved through great effort and cost by the conservation authorities but also great sacrifice by local communities. However, when the data analysis is done or the management decisions are to be made from trend inferences, it often proof to be less useful that expected due to unsystematic, non-standardised data collection techniques, especially between rookeries.

Recognising the migratory nature of sea turtles and the importance of comparing trends between rookeries, species, seasons and nations, a training session on “Standardised beach monitoring protocols for sea turtles using international best practice” has been scheduled during the the Sixth WIOMSA Scientific Symposium. The objective will be to tailor techniques to the region to optimise time and resources for monitoring, while still collecting useful, comparable data. The workshop will be conducted by regional sea turtle experts on systematic data collection and management, with a demonstration of a database system such as TREDS.

MCSS Research Officer. Elke Talma, has been invited to attend the workshop as MCSS manages a number of turtle rookeries on the developed islands of Seychelles. While MCSS is already implementing standard monitoring techniques for Seychelles developed by Dr. Jeanne Mortimer in the 1990’s, this workshop provides an opportunity to meet with experts in the region to see how monitoring methods may (or may not) have changed and discuss difficulties experienced in long-term monitoring.

MCSS has received donations from a number of local sponsor, many of whom already support the MCSS Turtle Monitoring Programme, to facilitate this trip. These include: Four Seasons Resort, Thrifty Car Hire, Helicopter Seychelles, Dive Resort Seychelles, Underwater Centre Seychelles and Cousine Island.