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Further training to protect turtles

28 November 2016

Measuring a leatherback turtle as part of practical training
Measuring a leatherback turtle as part of practical training
From 25-26 November, Centro Terra Viva presented a refresher training course for the 46 turtle monitors who cover the area from Ponta do Ouro to Ponta Mucombo in Mozambique. The training comprised both theory and practical exercises and was held at Lar do Ouro in Ponta do Ouro and at the Milibangalala campsite. Also participating were marine guards from Ponta do Ouro, and from Pomene and Bazaruto national parks.
The Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve has a rich diversity of marine life and is the most important leatherback and loggerhead turtle nesting ground along the Mozambican coast. To monitor and protect the turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs, a marine monitoring programme was established to augment the programme that has been in place since 1994, thanks to Pierre Lombard and his family. Since December 2007, members of the communities of Ponta do Ouro, Milibangalala, the Machangulo Peninsula, Malongane and Mamoli have been trained as turtle monitors by the Association for Coastal and Marine Research, Centro Terra Viva and the management of the marine reserve, supported by Peace Parks Foundation and its donors.
In the 2015–16 season, a total of 1 868 tracks and 1 005 nests were recorded. The most abundant were endangered loggerhead turtles (1 600 tracks; 752 nests) and critically endangered leatherbacks (53 tracks; 46 nests). The reserve is an important nesting area for loggerheads, with 98.6% of all tracks and 99.7% of all nests recorded, and leatherbacks, with 94.3% of all tracks and 95.6% of all nests recorded along Mozambique's 2 470 km coastline. The trend of data collected since 2007 indicates that the numbers for loggerhead turtles are increasing and that those for leatherback turtles are stable.
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The Ponta do Ouro-Kosi Bay Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA) is Africa's first marine and coastal TFCA that links the Ponta do Ouro-Inhaca coastline of Mozambique with South Africa's iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a World Heritage Site, where turtles have been monitored since 1963. This TFCA is part of the larger Lubombo TFCA.

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