Updated: Jul 23, 2020
The turtle species found along the Kenyan coast are the Olive Ridley, Green Turtle, Loggerhead Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle, and the Leatherback Turtle. The Olive Ridley, Green Turtle, and Loggerhead Turtle are all listed as endangered, while the Hawksbill Turtle and the Leatherback Turtle are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which is the world's most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species. Local Ocean Conservation Trust which runs Watamu Turtle Watch (WTW), the lead experts in Kenya on turtles, saw the great need of having turtles, their nests, and hatchlings protected along Diani Beach which has a ever growing human population with consequent human/wildlife conflict. With this in mind, Diani Turtle Watch (DTW) working under the auspices of WTW was born about 5 years ago. With no funding available, awareness was created in Diani, and thanks to some well-wishers, DTW managed to send 12 beach operators to Watamu to learn about turtles and become “turtle monitors”. The 12 chosen people, who were handpicked, were keen to know more about conservation and the protection of turtles even though it was made clear that their work would be voluntary.
The turtle monitors have created significant awareness among local people about the turtle
populations, their breeding habits, and the threats that the species face. This has paid off as beach operators have starting informing DTW of turtles which had laid eggs overnight. Every nest since inception of DTW has been recorded, monitored, hatch-lings counted, and the information sent to the data center in Watamu. Over 7000 hatch-lings have been monitored along Diani Beach and have successfully made their way into the ocean.
Unfortunately only about 2% of hatch-lings will survive to adulthood due to the number of ocean predators that the young turtles fall victim to. DTW are forced to relocate some turtle nests to a few chosen safe areas. Relocations are mainly required as a result of human activities in the area that pose a threat to turtle nests, and beach front walls which can result in eggs drowning at high tide. Over the past 5 years there has been a huge reduction in eggs being removed
from nests for consumption by local people, as the monitors are informed when turtles nest, and are therefore able to monitor and move the eggs to safe areas if necessary. Another aspect of the monitors work is to encourage the local fishermen when they accidentally catch a turtle in their nets, not to kill the turtle, but to bring it back ashore. The monitors have to cut the nets, weigh the turtle, measure it, and then release it. The fishermen get compensated for their nets, which they then have to repair. To enable DTW to continue to protect our turtles, funding is required. It is not just transport money or fishermen's compensation, surgical gloves for egg translocation, buckets, note books, cell phone recharge, etc. From time to time DTW try to give the turtle monitors something small to show appreciation for all the hard work they put in. DTW would also like to give the turtle monitors cameras to better record their work, T-shirts to identify them properly, caps, torches, rain coats, etc. so any help you can offer, however small, would go a long way to SAVE A TURTLE.
Donations can be made via Mpesa – Pay Bill No 828248 or online to