Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Saturday, June 4, 2011

An unexpected hatching

On Monday, Kirsty and I went to meet our partners at KESCOM; a non profit organisation established in 1993 following increased reports of turtle mortalities caused by illegal poaching of turtle eggs, meat, and threats from tourism. Their objective is to conserve sea turtles and their habitats along the Kenyan Coast whilst developing and implementing awareness and research programs. The goal of this visit was to create a new structure to the current placement programme, introducing both conservation and community development aspects, and to formulate key aims for the next 3 months.

We carefully release the tiny Green turtle hatchling

We started the day by driving up to Vipingo, just north of Mombasa, to meet with the members of the Turtle Conservation Group (TCG) at Bureni, who currently manage a private section of the Kenyan coast, and potentially perfect nesting beaches for Green and Hawksbill turtles. We met with Charles and Nicola, the most active members of Bureni Turtle Group and discussed both the groups and KESCOM’s goals and how GVIs trained interns could help support them on the ground.

The two hatchlings successfully take their first epic journey to the ocean

After a successful, productive meeting, Charles led us to a beautiful beach to show us different nesting zones as well as the current nests residing there. He pointed out a particular Green Turtle's nest that had hatched a few days earlier, with a few eggs remaining unhatched. He decided to carefully dig to see if they had finally hatched and made their way to the ocean or if they had failed to hatch altogether. He started clearing the sand away to suddenly discover two baby turtles hatched and ready to leave home! Due to the weather being so overcast, Charles decided to give them a helping hand and lifted them out of the nest and onto the beach. Almost immediately they both started frantically heading towards the ocean (although one did get a little lost for a minute or so!) and not long after entered the water where they started swimming for the first time! As they popped their heads up to take their first breathe we realised this was an experience none of us would forget and a representation of the steps forward being made to protect turtles within Kenya.

Green Turtles are endangered with many threats facing their habitats