Our first Local Ocean Day

This month we held our inaugural Local Ocean Day in collaboration with A Rocha Kenya and Turtle Bay Beach Club.

We had a total of over 250 school children and community groups who participated in the day’s events, including a beach cleanup, sand art sculpture competition and quiz for school children.

The beach clean-up covered a wide area from Blue Bay Hotel to Plot 28 (A Rocha Kenya). A total of 50 plastic bags were filled with non-biodegradable rubbish collected from the beach such as plastics, glass bottles and flip-flops. This was the first time we had covered such a long stretch of beach during a cleaning exercise.

The Sand Art Sculpture competition was stiff with 21 entries from 10 community groups and 11 schools. The overall six winning teams in this competition were awarded with prizes donated by A Rocha Kenya, Local Ocean Trust, Turtle Bay Beach Club and Gelato Ice Cream Shop. The overall best winning team, Dongokundu Primary had designed a mangrove and turtle sculpture. This depicted the day’s theme of instilling in the local community an appreciation of their marine environment and an understanding of the interrelation between the mangrove ecosystem and their importance in providing a foraging habitat for juvenile green and hawksbill turtles in Mida Creek.

 

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In the afternoon, school children from all 11 schools gathered at Turtle Bay Conference Hall for the final of the ASSETS inter-school quiz between Malanga and Mijomboni Primary Schools, and to award prizes for a best essay competition about the local bush meat trade in Arabuko-Sukoke forest. The winners were awarded with prizes donated by Nature Kenya and Turtle Bay Beach Club, including a Dhow trip for the winning school. While very hot and sweaty out in the sun, we had a great day and look forward to doing it again next year!

Hatchling Success

We had a wonderful hatchling release on Watamu beach yesterday with one of the hatchings already sitting with its front flipper out of the sand when we arrived. They came out in a wonderful explosion and headed off very quickly down our hatchling run way to the ocean. They all made it and was a wonderful site to see them all running into the ocean. All traffic stopped on the beach to watch them make their long way down to the ocean and swim away.

This wonderful success highlights the importance of the being there when they nest to prevent predation by crabs, small  animals the various dogs on the beach and people.

Volunteering

We welcome volunteers!  Come help us rescue turtles on the beaches of Kenya.  For more information, please go to our website www.watamuturtles.com or email us at [email protected]

Turtle releases

September Update

Well, Septemeber has been a busy month for us here with over 49 turtles releases back into the ocean. We had a fairly rare occurence with a large male green turtle nearly 1.5 metres long coming to us with a hook imbedded in its front flipper, we managed to remove it quickly and he was release back into the marine park. It has been a month of hook injuries with 2 other female turtles coming to us with hooks lodged in their throats from fishing line , with a littel perserverance we managed to sort them out and send them back to the  sea.

We  have some new residents in the rehabilitation centre with 7 little hatchling residing with us while we feed them up  before taking them by boat and releasing  them back into the ocean. They ar eeating so much w e are calling them the little fatties. The rehabilitaion centre this month has also seen the rlesae of our little hawksbill who has been with us for 6 months and she was finally released back into the park on thursday – we were both very happy and sad to see her go.

Technologically this month has been challenging wiht  a massive power surge which has blown up our  water tank pumps, our DVD palyer, 2 computer cords and a small fridge. The challenges of a non functioning power supply. Luckily no one was hurt but now we need to replace what was lost.

We have also been working hard on the development and improvement of our volutneer program and it is starting to really look good and we have our next volutneer arriving this month. We are looking forwad to having more hands on deck particualrly as we are getting into the season for large turtle releases adn november to January are our busiest release months with up to 90 turtles being released each month.

July Turtle Tales

It has been a busy month here at Local Ocean Trust -Watamu Turtle Watch, with our new accommodation filling up, and lots of turtle action keeping our ecotourist volunteers busy. There have been 38 rescues and releases this month, with up to 4 rescues a day. There were 24 Green Turtles, 13 Hawksbill Turtles, and our first successful live Loggerhead Turtle rescue. It has also been a busy month for the nesting turtles, with 3 new nests being laid and 4 nests hatching producing a total of 493 live hatchlings, with nearly all the hatchlings making it to the sea.

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Our rehabilitation centre currently has 3 Turtles. 2 Hawksbill Turtles recuperating and gaining strength with the hope of releasing them in the hopefully not to distant future, but we will update you with their progress every month. Kasumni, who has been with us for the last 4 years, has been going for regular sea swims with the ecotourists, to help her get used to her future home. We have to take the little hawksbill, who has a blockage of the gut, to be x-rayed every fortnight, but unfortunately due to our limited facilities, and limited local medical facilities, we have to take her to Malindi Hospital to get her fortnightly x-ray, which raises eyebrows in the waiting room! We also had a new arrival, a Green Turtle, who was the victim of a speargun fisherman, and was rescued from Uyombo.

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Edward ( our community education coordinator)organised the Environmental and Animal Welfare education drama and poetry competition at the local high school in Gede, for 19 local primary and high schools, which had over 400 students participating in it. The volunteers were asked to act as judges, which they were all very excited about. It was an entertaining day; and was great to see the enthusiasm and talent of the local children, and to know the issue of animal welfare and environmental issues were being taken so seriously and passionately by them.

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One of volunteers, Tim, had an amazing experience a few weeks ago. Stepping onto the beach for night patrol, he heard a loud noise, went over to investigate and saw a large female green turtle walking up the beach in order to lay her eggs. While this is a regular event on the beaches of Watamu, it is rare to see one as soon as you step foot on the beach! Having just arrived a few days earlier he is a lucky man!

We had a wonderful turn out for our fundraising dinner at Ocean Sports. The food was great, there was a lot of fairly questionable dancing, and great fun was had by all. The raffle was also a great success, especially with the volunteers, nearly all of whom managed to win prizes, and Felicity, who won two, but decided that she shouldn’t be so greedy and gave one back. We raised over ksh80,000, and so many thanks for the generosity to all of those who attended and especially to those who donated raffle prizes.
All this good work would not be possible if it were not for, volunteers, donations, and turtle adoptions. In order to donate or adopt a turtle or if interested in volunteering please go to www.watamuturtlewatch.com
If you are in or visiting Kenya, and are interested in visiting our rehabilitation centre to see all the good work that we do, please come see us at plot 203, Watamu, or visit the Marine Centre next to Watamu Supermarket.
Please note that our phone number has now changed to +254 (0) 42 2332118

Trying to get our blog going!

Communications in Watamu are taxing, putting it mildly……… good internet connections are something we dream of!

Kisumni our hawksbill long term rehab ‘patient’ has made a dramatic turn for the better.  Having thought she may never be able to be released after 4 years she has suddenly started to swim.  Kahindi takes her for a swim in the ocean several times a week and she is slowly building up her strength and honing her instincts……….she, for instance, forages on corals and even chases fish.  This looks very positive for a possible, successful relase.

The world economic crisis has hit us badly and running costs are now an enormous issue.

marine turtle nest protection and research programme

Watamu & Malindi marine turtle nest protection and research programme.

In 1997 Watamu Turtle Watch initiated a sea turtle nest protection programme for Watamu in co-operation with the local community. Daily patrols by community members check for nesting turtles, new nests, and protect and monitor incubating and hatching nests. Nesting turtles that are encountered are tagged and data collected. Nests are allowed to incubate in situ unless laid in an area threatened by sea wash, in which case they are carefully translocated to a safe area. Research is carried out on nesting and hatching success. To date over 350 nests and 35,000 hatchlings have been protected.

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WTW Staff measuring the nest – a turtle nesting

Marine Education centre

A key aim of the Local Ocean Marine Centre in Watamu is to instil an appreciation of the beauty and wonders of the marine world, particularly the underwater one, which few

Kenyans have had the opportunity to witness. This is achieved through continually updated displays on the marine environment and its different ecosystems, including

fascinating items of information, latest news and changing themes. There are opportunities for interaction – including ‘thinking and ideas contribution points’ and a

children’s area. We have developed an extensive video and reading library as a source of information and learning. Community and student group visits are organised and

encouraged locally and nationally to visit the centre

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school children at the marine information center

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Environmental Education outreach.

Environmental Education outreach.

The watamu Turtle Watch Environmental Programme has been able to reach out to school children on environmental awareness. We reached out to 2 schools and educated them on “The Sea Ecosystem”. Children were taught what comprises the ecosystem, its importance and sustainable use of resources.

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school children – marine conservation rally.

They were then engaged in activities and later a film on marine life. We also organized a marine environmental day event where 10,000 mangrove seedlings were planted. School children, teachers, community based organizations, fishermen, government institutions, non-governmental organizations, local leaders, media and the general public participated.

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community marine planting.

We have been able to distribute posters for notice boards, literature on turtles.

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Local school children on marine awarness rally.

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