Enhancing community participation in the conservation of sea turtles in Kenya
Turtle conservation efforts in Kenya have for many years focused on providing scientific information which reveals diminishing turtle populations with low recruitment rates, reduced nesting activity and sightings, and increased cases of mortality and poaching, as well as low levels of local community awareness and education. The Kenya Sea Turtle Conservation Committee (KESCOM) has been instrumental in enhancing community participation to help reverse this trend by initiating community-based Turtle Conservation Groups whose activities cover 31% of the Kenyan coast. This project focuses on the Kipini Community Conservation Group, founded in 1994—one of nine Turtle Conservation Groups registered under KESCOM whose activities cover the Kipini area of the Kenyan Coast. This area has been identified as a key nesting area and foraging ground for rare and threatened sea turtles in Kenya. Covering and area with 17 beaches and contiguous waters hosting a substantial population of sea turtles, Kipini could be managed as a key sea turtle recruitment area in Kenya. This project will raise the level of awareness and education among the local community as an important prerequisite required to drive future marine turtle conservation and management action in Kenya.