There is a critical need to gather data and understand the movements and populations of the threatened green and hawksbill turtles. By understanding, how, why and where the turtles use the marine environment, we are able to set up the appropriate management tools to protect them.
ZSL has been working in partnership with Maluane – an innovative community-based conservation programme ensuring the protection of the exceptional coastal biodiversity in the northern Querimbas Archipelago on Vamizi and Rongui islands, using eco-tourism as an economic engine. ZSL and Maluane have built on local knowledge to develop a team of turtle monitors from the village who have successfully protected and monitored more than 600 nests of green (Chelonia mydas) and hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) turtles over the last 4 years. Previously all turtles had been poached for their meat, shell and eggs by itinerant fishers coming into the area.
The turtle monitors have been monitoring and tagging the nesting turtles to understand how the turtles use the nesting beaches. The beaches of Vamizi have now been recognised as being of Regional importance for green and hawksbill turtles in the Western Indian Ocean. In addition, genetic samples have been taken to develop knowledge about the population structure of the turtles. Now that we have secured the future of the nesting beaches of Vamizi and Rongui, we must try to truly understand how turtles utilise the Western Indian Ocean to reduce the risk of threats they encounter at other stages in their life cycles. To do this we need to track
their movements as they return to the seas and to do this we use a satellite tag. From the information sent back, we can see where the nesting turtles go to feed and grow and the appropriate management can be put into place. As turtles can travel so far, this frequently involves international collaborations and management efforts.
Our inaugural satellite tag has been kindly made possible by Mr Michael Langdon as a gift to his wife Claudia.
‘Claudia’ is the first green turtle to be satellite tagged in this part of the Western Indian Ocean which is recognised as being of global conservation value, and where turtles have never been studied before.
Follow Claudia's journey using our satellite map. The map will update itself every time Claudia comes up to breathe as she swims across the Western Indian Ocean. You can view the map online here.