18 February 2008
MOZAMBIQUE has, in the past, been somewhat of a weak link in the turtle protection chain.
It's hoped this will all change now that a transfrontier turtle monitoring project is in place.
Dr Roelie Kloppers, project coordinator for the Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation Area, said data is currently being collected for the entire Maputaland coastline, from St Lucia in the south to Santa Maria in Mozambique in the north.
This will result in the first report defining the status of turtle populations along this entire strip of coastline - together with management recommendations.
It is the intention that Eduardo Videira, secretary of the Mozambican Turtle Working Group will present the Mozambican component of the report to the Ministry of Tourism in Mozambique (which is also responsible for conservation efforts in that country).
Kloppers said the project was initiated towards the end of last year, and formed part of current efforts to proclaim the 85km coastline from Ponta do Ouro to Santa Maria (opposite Inhaca Island, 100km north of Kosi Bay) in Mozambique as a Marine Protected Area.
Those involved in the project are the marine manager of the Maputo Special Reserve, Matthew Prophet, the Peace Parks Foundation, the Mozambican Turtle Group and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.
Ezemvelo's Kosi Bay conservation manager, Finias Muchacha, and resource ecologist Dr Scotty Kyle have provided tags for the turtles and are responsible for explaining to the Mozambicans how monitoring has, for many years, been carried out in Rocktail Bay, Bhanga Nek and other parts of Maputaland on the South African side of the border.
To ensure consistency on both sides of the border, data is being collected on standardised forms. Data gathered in Mozambique is checked by Prophet, while Kyle and Muchacha are responsible for that gathered by Ezemvelo.
Sunday Tribune - 17 February 2008