Posts tagged Africa
Sea Turtles of the Mediterranean Sea

The Mediterranean Sea is a bountiful yet dangerous place for sea turtles. Characterized by beautiful natural and cultural heritage sites and by rich biodiversity, the Mediterranean is also a troubled and overexploited sea, where sea turtles have a hard time coping with high fishing pressure, gas and oil development, major cross-continental maritime traffic, beachfront and other habitat impacts, and widespread marine pollution.

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The Sea Turtles of Africa

Africa’s sea turtles were once among the least studied in the world, and mounting threats to their survival, such as fishing, poaching, coastal development, and pollution, still require further study and urgent attention. Today, a growing number of institutions and individuals are shedding new light on sea turtle science, and they are helping find solutions to the continent’s sea turtle and ocean conservation challenges.

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A New App Aids African Turtle Researchers

Marine megafauna, such as sea turtles and manatees, provide valuable ecosystem services, and the absence of those creatures in an ecological community can lead to severe imbalance. Up to the minute data on megafauna presence and abundance are often hard to acquire. To confront that challenge, in 2015 the African Marine Mammal Conservation Organization (AMMCO)—a Cameroon-based nongovernmental organization—created the first mobile phone application, SIREN, dedicated specifically to marine megafauna data collection in West Africa.

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How Turtles Affect Beaches

People living on temperate shores are familiar with phenomena such as the salmon run, in which entire ecosystems emerge from winter hibernation, starving for nutrition and desperately waiting for the salmon to arrive. Sea turtle nesting is no different; it creates a massive nutrient pulse into otherwise nutrient-poor beach ecosystems.

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Urbanization Chips Away Turtle Habitats in West-Central Africa

One of the most insidious threats to sea turtles in West-Central Africa is the impact of coastal development. Two coastal towns that illustrate this phenomenon well are the megacities of Lagos, Nigeria, and Pointe-Noire, Republic of the Congo. More adult sea turtles and nests have been lost to direct take as urban expansion and coastal settlement in those cities have brought increased light, ocean pollution and vessel traffic.

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Viva Tartaruga! Getting the Word Out In Creative Ways

São Tomé and Príncipe is somewhat lost and forgotten by the rest of the world. The few outsiders who do visit the country usually comment on the excellent coffee, the excellent chocolate (considered among the best in the world), and their shock at seeing sea turtle meat being openly sold in the market and sea turtles butchered on the islands’ picture-perfect beaches.

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The Importance of Setting Baselines for Assessing the Direct Take of Turtles

Baseline data on direct takes of turtles are vital for conservationists to measure their projects’ successes or failures and to help us avoid, or at least be aware of, shifting baselines, in which our perception of what is normal is influenced by what we have witnessed in our lifetimes. Having baseline data enables us to assess the impact of management strategies, conservation programs, or new policies and allows us to say with confidence: this is working, we are winning.

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