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31 October 2019
The Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve in the Lubombo TFCA now boasts two all-terrain vehicles, thanks to the Turing Foundation.
The all-terrain vehicles greatly contribute to the effectiveness of the rangers, given the distances they need to travel to monitor and manage this 678 km² marine protected area.
The reserve and South Africa’s iSimangaliso Wetland Park comprise Africa’s first marine TFCA. Turtles are carefully monitored and protected along this 350 kilometre stretch of Indian Ocean coastline, from Maputo River in the north of Mozambique to Mapelane (Cape St Lucia) in South Africa.
Effective law enforcement has already resulted in the success of the Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve’s turtle monitoring programme, funded by the Turing Foundation
. Community members are trained annually to work as turtle monitors to protect, measure and tag the critically endangered leatherback and critically endangered loggerhead turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs. The programme provides quantitative data on the nesting, tagging and mortalities of marine turtles, while raising awareness among communities to further protect the turtles.
The turtle nesting and hatching season runs from October to March. The vehicles are used all year round, though, to manage and protect the beaches and coastal waters and ensure that conditions are optimum for the senstitive marine life. During these patrols, the rangers continually interact with local communities to educate them about the reserve’s marine life and turtle monitoring programme.