One hundred miles from Conakry, the capital of Guinea, lies the island archipelago of Tristao where endangered marine turtles and communities share a fragile marine protected area. Within the archipelago, on the island of Katrack, is a 20 km long sandy beach where Hawksbill, Green and Olive Ridley marine turtles come ashore to nest in this global turtle hotspot. This project will work with the local communities to protect the nests, prevent poaching, reduce habitat degradation, conduct DNA analysis and ensure this valuable population of endangered sea turtles continue to thrive. Community engagement includes the support of a local school and a dispensary. To shepherd this project, a doctoral student will be studying the impact of community engaged conservation on nesting and foraging marine turtles.
Research: Establishment and operation of a field station that will facilitate the research of a doctoral student including nest site monitoring, field surveys, genetic analysis and habitat monitoring.
Practice: Support for the management of the marine protected area through training, equipment and manpower.
Outreach: Community outreach and support for the local school and dispensary specifically targeting quality of life for the local community and improving relations with community leadership and fishers.
Project location - Guinea, Africa
February 28, 2022
During a tour of the islands, accompanied by the Chief Curator of the Wildlife Sanctuary of the Loos Islands, our team met with the Mayor of Loos and the island’s head for the environment. They discussed the community conservation of the marine turtle and gained a better understanding of the beaches in the archipelago. A further stop on the nearby small island of Blanche, resulted in the discovery of four Green Turtle nests at this significant wetland site. The plan now is to implement monitoring here in the hope that Hawksbill Turtle nests are detected.
February 24, 2022
Conakry, Guinea. I am leaving Saturday for the islands. The team meet with the newly appointed environment directors (in Guinea). These directors were newly appointed after the coup. Specifically, I met the young minister of the environment today to explain the projects to her. She likes these projects very much and she officially supports them.
In addition to this networking among environmental officials in Guinea, we have had several meetings with the construction company which will be building the field station near the beach in Tristao. Work will begin very soon, maybe even in early March. The project has prepaid for the materials and a second instalment on the field station project will be due soon and construction will begin.
Jacques Fretey, Turtle Project Director, Guinea
February 1, 2022
The marine turtle conservation team relocated 9 nests in December 2021 to an enclosure protected from egg poachers. After a 60-day incubation period, 150 Green turtle hatchlings emerged on the 1st of February 2022. The other nests are being closely monitored. Some members of the marine turtle conservation team on Tristao Archipelago in Guinea joined the West Africa Marine Turtle Workshop in Guinea Bissau in December to exchange information, share expertise and develop a community of conservationists along the coast from Mauritania to Sierra Leone. Next on the agenda are meetings with local leaders, strategic planning, fishers survey, training with protected area rangers and community development.
September 1, 2021
Our community turtle conservation partners, Chelonee, in Guinea have realized success by working with the local community to acquire land for a research station where a doctoral student will begin her sea turtle research project. In addition, while on the same field trip the team erected a sea turtle nest protection area. All of which is visible in the slideshow below.
The president of the district donated a coastal field of 2 hectres, according to the traditional manner, to the association Chélonée for its research station. A field visit was done. With a cashew plantation occupying part of the land, the owner asked if he should cut them down. Our team gave a negative answer, because they did not constitute a problem. The rectangular field measures 2 ha and is on the edge of the sea. The team recorded GPS points on the four corners of the field, which allowed Jacques to draw a perimeter on satellite pictures from Google Earth