The Birth of Project Ariyike

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Click to Read about our Proposed #ProjectAriyike. We are currently undergoing training at the Barbados Sea Turtle Project to be able to carry out this Project.

The most incredible thing happened to me while we were preparing to Launch the Sea Turtle Exhibition conservation Education. I was confronted with a Live Sea turtle in trouble. It has been hawked for sale on the streets in Lagos as is the usual practice these days and it was injured. I just could not let it go. I had to purchase her from them against my belief that we shouldn’t be paying to rescue animals but I had no other option at that point.

I called my friends and hosts – Doyinsola Ogunye  and  DammyOshodi, for the Sea Turtle Exhibition we were preparing to launch and we had to wake people I know up in the Night at about 11pm Nigeria time to help me with what I can do. It was my very first sighting of a sea turtle in my 40 years of age. I called Anna Stamatiou in UK, to Dr Daniela Freggi in Italy, to Birgit Braun in Germany and discussed with so many others who commented via Facebook when I made an initial post about the rescue. We had to become creative made a makeshift holding tank, nursed it back to reasonable health and released back to the ocean when Dr Daniela said, she was good to go. Special thanks goes to Doyinsola Ogunye and her team who provided her Kids Beach Garden to provide a temporary hope for ‘Ariyike’. You are appreciated.

Below are Videos and timelines of the events leading to the release of our First Sea Turtle we have named Ariyike – Meaning, “See Me and Care for me” in yoruba language of south-west Nigeria.
1] The Rescue
2] Night of the Rescue, temporary home to keep her safe –
3] Building of a Temporary Rehabilitation home the next day – https://web.facebook.com/WildlifeAfricaInitiative/videos/1793059834278270/
4] The Release – Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
5] The Exhibition itself
6] More Ariyike Rescue and  Exhibition Pictures – https://web.facebook.com/WildlifeAfricaInitiative/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1793727897544797

Now, this for me has Birthed a the Sea Turtle Conservation Program for Wildlife Africa. We tag it #ProjectAriyikes, which will effectively be to  search and rescue more sea turtles, rehabilitate and release them back to the Sea, while intensify the Exhibition education and expanding into Community engagement and awareness creation.

So, On this #ProjectAriyike we have proposed-
1.Nest Monitoring and Protection by shoreline guards employed from the local communities as a sustainable approach.
2.Rehabilitation Centre
3.Community Outreach, Education and Awareness
a)Risk of consuming Sea Turtles or its eggs as food
b)Fishermen sensitization to reduce risk of mortality from their gears.
4. Active Sea Turtle Search and Rescue Operations and other reasonable incidentals.
5] Engagement of critical stakeholders to implement and enforce the Endangered Species act of 1985.

It is worthy of note that while we were releasing this one (1), we got report of 6 being taken and sold in another part of Lagos (Takwa Bay).

I sincerely hope we can begin to do something for these critically endangered species. Its like a frenzy now in Lagos. The coastal communities hunts their eggs too. They boil and eat it and even sell it in the market.  They see it as their God giving resource to exploit albeit without consideration for the survival of the species.

We have secured a facility in Lekki Lagos, (See attachment), where we hope to set up this Centre. We would need to make some renovation works to make it reasonably suitable to begin, and though the site is close to the ocean front, we would still need to install a system to get sea water water in and out seamlessly. We hope to at some point we would have places for volunteers, for visitors as schools, and a first aid medical session to effectively run #ProjectAriyikes in the Short, Medium and Long term.

I must not forget to acknowledge the support and participation of the following who participated and supported us in Launching the Sea Turtle Exhibition Project in Nigeria –  AGA, Susty Vibes, Fabe International, Lufasi Nature Park, Foundation Starters  and all the members of TEAM Wildlife Africa listed on this Site, notably Alexandrial Allen, Oluwaseun Adewumi, and Olajubu Aderonke.

For Sponsorship considerations please CONTACT US and DONATE.

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©2016

Felix Abayomi

Founder, Wildlife Africa

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