On the 13th of October 2017, Wildlife of Africa Conservation Initiative (WACI) began its much-publicized project, dubbed #ProjectAriyike. This is a Wildlife Conservation effort targeted at Nesting Sea Turtles Protection and Population Recruitment.
The project took off with an open beach patrol by #TeamWildlifeAfrica at one of the Lagos beaches. During its interaction with locals at the beach, #TeamWildlifeAfrica was reliably informed that there have been sea turtle activities recently on the beach.
According to the locals, sea turtles were spotted on the beach as recently as on the 6th of October 2017. A nesting pit was also observed although the nest was not confirmed. The scenario was, however ‘Heartrending’. #TeamWildlifeAfrica was authoritatively informed by the local community members that on the morning of the 6th of October 2017 that 2 sea turtles came ashore to lay eggs, the eggs of one nest were stolen and the other’s eggs were searched for frantically with no success. We were shocked to hear poachers squabble and fight over who will lay claim to the eggs all the time.
Further investigation by the team led to the discovery of the person who poached the eggs. The man, whose name cannot be verified as at the time of filing this report is a fisherman who conducts his business at the beach. #TeamWildlifeAfrica tried to engage the fisherman in a sea turtle sensation discussion but were rebuffed by his hostility and uncooperativeness. it was visibly clear that he was harbouring grudges unrelated to sea turtle and having more to do with low harvest during his fishing expedition and the taxation system supposedly imposed on them.
On a good note, however, #TeamWildlifeAfrica was warmly welcomed by the locals whose eagerness to learn about sea turtles was amazing. Many of those #TeamWildlifeAfrica interacted with told of an ‘ERRONEOUS’ story linking thunder strikes to baby sea turtles emerging from the ground. #TeamWildlifeAfrica promised to engage the local community members on its sea turtle conservation efforts and intend to carry out sensitization, education and awareness programs aimed at the benefits of preserving our sea turtles, correcting this and several other erroneous beliefs among the people and highlight the tourism potentials, protecting sea turtles holds for the communities and their inhabitants.
Written by –
Okonye Uche (#TeamWildlifeAfrica)