Monday, February 1, 2010

Conservation of turtle rookeries on Mahé through increased public awareness and community involvement.

MCSS has received funding from Mangroves for the Future for a new project which looks at the “Conservation of turtle rookeries on the developed island of Mahé through increased public awareness and community involvement”. The primary objectives of this project are to: identify, monitor and rehabilitate priority turtle nesting beaches through collaborative programmes with local communities and stakeholders while raising public awareness in both residents and tourists about turtle conservation in Seychelles.

Elke (yellow shoes) speaking to officers from the Tourism Police about turtles, photo Veronique Bonnelame.

Since 2003, MCSS has been implementing several complementary and mutually supportive turtle projects that address the strategic, tactical and local scenarios in an attempt to address turtle conservation in an integrated manner. This project builds on the foundations and outputs of these on-going activities.

For turtle conservation to be effective in the long term to the broadest benefit of the Seychelles population through economic, educational, scientific and aesthetic benefits, it is necessary to maintain turtle rookeries on the developed islands of Seychelles.

Educating the youth is one way to help conserve turtles, photo Michele Martin.

In other parts of the world, effective and lucrative ecotourism activities have been established around turtle rookeries. In Seychelles, the benefits of turtle based eco-tourism have so far proven illusive as the resource is not sufficiently accessible and/or reliable to allow for the development of targeted activities. Healthy nesting populations on selected beaches coupled with reasonable feeding populations around the main developed islands offer scope for targeted marketing of turtle-related activities to the broader tourist population in a way that can have direct benefits to local communities.

For such a project to have any chance of success it must have good support from the populace in general and this in terms of goodwill, volunteerism and the donation of funds and facilities.

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