Marine turtle project 2005: implementing a local community action plan to save marine turtles in Kenya

Simmons Nzuki

All 5 species of marine turtles occurring in Kenya’s marine waters i.e. Chelonia mydas, Eretmochelys imbricata, lepidochelys olivacea, Caretta caretta and Dermochelys coriacea are listed by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) as either endangered or critically endangered (IUCN-EARO and IUCN/SSC, 1996) and are listed under Appendix 1 by CITES (IFAW, WWF, TRAFFIC East Asia, WCS, 2001). Despite this international concern and the local protection of marine turtles by the government legislation through the Fisheries Act and the Wildlife Act, marine turtles in Kenya are still under threat. The overall the aim of the second stage of the project will be to facilitate the translation of enhanced community capacity into a larger scale conservation action to accelerate the recovery of declined marine turtle populations within the Tana Delta. This will be complemented through collection of additional data and information on the impact of marine fisheries on turtles and their habitats characterize habitats and assess population status to provide a reliable benchmark for continued monitoring. The follow-up action will also help to formalize partnerships established with NGOs as well as government institutions and provide impetus for continued collaboration.

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