Thursday, January 28, 2010

MCSS helps celebrate 15 years of the Seychelles Wildlife Clubs

A festival was organised in November 2009 to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Seychelles Wildlife Club, and Elke volunteered to talk to club members about turtles.

Armed with a turtle poster from Kelonia, Tiny the inflatable turtle, lots of informative turtle leaflets, some drawing material and the “pièce de résistance”, Isabelle the terrapin who had been rescued from Anse Forbans, Elke was ready to take on the challenge of keeping a group of over 15 kids entertained for over 2 hours!

“Turtle Time” started with a question and answer session entitled “Who’s who in turtle land”, using the turtle poster donated to MCSS by Kelonia. It was clear that, despite never having seen a live turtle, the kids knew their stuff, leaving Elke to ask more challenging questions.

When it came to turtle protection laws, Elke was pleased when her avid crowd of turtle fans suggested that poachers should be locked up for 15 years for killing turtles, as opposed to the 2 years currently imposed under the Seychelles law.
Elke and her avid group of turtle fans, photo Michelle Martin

The next session entitled “Shush! Do not disturb”, was to teach the kids the MCSS Turtle Watcher’s Code of Conduct and Tiny the inflatable turtle was key to this role playing exercise. By the end of the morning the kids, knew the Green Line number (72 21 11) off by heart, and promised to stay with a nesting turtle until she made if safely to the sea ... if they ever saw one, that is!

“Shush! Do not disturb”, photo Michelle Martin.

To round off the morning activities, Elke shifted to the main attraction ... a live terrapin rescued during a recent turtle patrol and, at the time in quarantine, before her release in the Banyan Tree Resort’s Wetland. The session entitled “Meet Isabelle, the terrapin” gave the kids the opportunity to, not only learn more about terrapins but also to see how conservationist can help protect endangered animals through their work.

Under Elke’s close supervision, Isabelle was photographed, weighed and measured by the kids, much to her annoyance, giving the kids a taste for what they could be doing, should they eventually decide to work in environmental conservation.

Isabelle making her movie debut, photo Elke Talma

The morning’s turtle activities concluded with a session in which the kids could paint or, for the more talented artists, draw some turtles to show their parents what they had been up to that morning.

Turtle masterpieces by budding artists, photo Elke Talma.

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