After conducting a discover scuba dive from Laka Lodge, I offered my students whether or not they would like to have a walk on the beach. Completely unknown to me, this small decision would lead me to one of the best days of my life. Today, I would like to share with you how I helped 19 tiny turtles, to make their way across their first obstacle in life and enter the oceans.
The Village of Itsamia
In the Comoros, there are two commonly seen types of sea turtles : The Green Sea Turtle and the Hawksbill sea turtle. These two are not only prevelant in the oceans, but the beaches here have become some of their most common nesting sites. Itsamia is the second largest nesting site for Green Turtles in the Indian Ocean. They lay their eggs year round and the 600 occupant village has been a driver in their protection in the last 40 years. Long before the first Marine Park was established in Moheli (in the year 2001), Itsamia inhabitants protected the turtles from being hunted and eaten.
Long before this was an environmental choice, they simply could not stand the stench of turtle and egg carcasses left behind by the hoard of hunters coming from other islands and villages. Since then environmental factors such as gaining a better understanding of the importance of healthy ecosystems, (since primarily all the villages on Moheli depend on fishing) and the benefits of tourism as renewed their vigour for protecting the nesting sites. All year round it is possible to go visit Itsamia and both see an adult female testing, and hundreds of tiny hatchlings emerging from the sand.
Green turtles are one of the largest sea turtles and the only herbivore out of the 7 different species of sea turtle. The name has been given to them due to the green colouring of the cartilage, rather than the common beleif of being named after their shell. They reside mainly in tropical and subtropical waters world wide.
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