HOPE FOR ENDANGERED SPECIES

Turtle hatchings have increased in last five years — official

Increase attributed to constant beach clean ups and security along the Malindi marine protected area

In Summary
  • Ilan said in 2017, 14 turtles hatched while in 2018 they recorded 26 nests within the shores of the marine park.
  • During the World Ocean Day celebrations, officials together with conservation organisations revealed there were hundreds of turtles at the marine protected area.
Rita Valentini one of the lovers of nature and conservations looks at one of the turtle nests at the shores of the Malindi marine park
Rita Valentini one of the lovers of nature and conservations looks at one of the turtle nests at the shores of the Malindi marine park
Image: ALPHONCE GARI
A KWS diver goes for underwater clean up at the Malindi marine protected area during the World Ocean Day
A KWS diver goes for underwater clean up at the Malindi marine protected area during the World Ocean Day
Image: ALPHONCE GARI

Turtles hatching along the shores of the Malindi Marine Park have increased in the last five years.

Marine officials have attributed the increase to the frequent beach clean-ups and security along the marine protected area.

During the World Ocean Day celebrations, officials and conservation organisations said there were hundreds of turtles at the marine protected area.

Teams cleaned-up the beach as others watched the turtle hatching sites during the fête. 

Another group cleaned-up the deep-sea marine protected areas as others snorkelled in the shallow section to clear up plastic wastes.

Journalists joined the team of divers to witness the underwater clean-up from the boat.

Kenya Wildlife Service official Abdi Bocha led the team of divers underwater for over one hour. 

He said they managed to see hundreds of turtles underwater swimming and enjoying life within the marine protected area.

Bocha said the turtles like hatching along the marine park because of safety measures put in place by the Kenya Wildlife Service. 

“We are happy to report that the ocean within the protected area is very clean and there are no plastics or fishing lines,” he said.

Lydia Ilan from KWS said Malindi was the first marine protected area in Africa and third in the world, hence why it was important.

She said turtles have been hatching for a long time because there is the right vegetation for them to hatch and good weather.

Ilan said in 2017, 14 turtles hatched while in 2018 they recorded 26 nests within the shores of the marine park.

“In 2019 we had 15 nests and 2020 we had 10 nests. So, this year from January up to today we have a total of 33 nests that have been laid right here at the beach,” she said.

Out of the nests that hatched, she said they have had a hatching success rate that is above 80 per cent for all the natural nests.

However, she said the translocated nests is slow hatching due to the process of translocation and different sand characteristics and the original nests.

Grace Mataru from the Kenya Wildlife Conservation Association said they were happy to be part of the World Ocean Day celebrations in Malindi which aims at encouraging people to conserve marine and the ocean.

She said oceans and marine life are facing a global threat due to plastic waste pollution that affects the lives of fish and turtles.

“It's important for us to ensure we protect these livelihoods in the Ocean,” she said.

Progressive Welfare Association Malindi chairperson Kate Mwikali who has been in the forefront in organising clean-ups in the beaches and Malindi town every second week of the month since 2019, said the efforts are bearing fruit as there are now many turtles in the marine park.

-Edited by SKanyara

 

A KWS diver prepares to go for underwater clean up at the Malindi marine protected area during the world Ocean day
A KWS diver prepares to go for underwater clean up at the Malindi marine protected area during the world Ocean day
Image: image: ALPHONCE GARI