The Born Free Foundation is supporting the work of Sea Sense as they work throughout Tanzania to save rare marine turtles from extinction
Sea turtles are ancient, mysterious creatures that have remained unchanged for 200 million years. Perfectly adapted to the marine environment, the males spend their entire lives at sea, the females returning to shore only to lay eggs.
Marine turtles are slow and cumbersome on land, but in the sea they are fast and streamlined swimmers. Until recently, turtles survived in great numbers in tropical and temperate waters, but in the last century over-exploitation, disturbance of their nesting beaches and pollution of the sea have caused a huge decline. Marine turtles are now among the world’s most vulnerable animals.
Off Tanzania, Mafia Island is a 48km long tropical island in the Indian Ocean, part of the legendary Spice Islands group. Beautiful Mafia is south of Zanzibar and has white sandy beaches, perfect for turtle nests. Mafia is a turtle ‘hotspot’ and provides an internationally important feeding habitat for five species of marine turtles, while green and hawksbill turtles also nest on Mafia’s beaches each year.
International wildlife charity the Born Free Foundation is supporting the work of Sea Sense as they work on Mafia and throughout Tanzania to save these rare marine turtles from extinction. Born Free has been helping this remarkable organisation since its inception in 2001 and Sea Sense works in close collaboration with coastal communities, helping change local people’s attitudes towards marine turtle conservation.
Gentle green turtles are the only vegetarian species of turtle. They are hunted for their eggs and meat, and used to make turtle soup. Populations take a long time to recover, as turtles are slow to reproduce, not maturing until 30 years. Even though the females lay hundreds of eggs, only one in a thousand of those will survive to become an adult.
Born Free is working to assure their future in the waters off Tanzania. Today, thanks to Sea Sense, threats to turtles in the Mafia area have dramatically decreased and the profile of turtles in Tanzania has risen both nationally and internationally. The project is working to reduce threats nationwide and raise public awareness.
YOU CAN HELP
Adopt the Mafia Island Turtle Family with Born Free. Visit give.bornfree.org.uk
Please help KQ & the Born Free Foundation to safeguard Africa’s wildlife by placing any loose change in the envelopes provided and handing to a member of the cabin crew. The money received will help us in our fight to ensure a future for Africa’s wildlife. Thank you! www.bornfree.org.uk/about-us/born-free-kenya/