Tanzania supports small populations of nesting green and hawksbill turtles. Community Conservation Officers have received extensive training in sea turtle conservation methods and focus their efforts on the conservation of important nesting sites. Each Conservation Officer undertakes a daily patrol of their local beach to look for evidence of sea turtle nesting activity. Deep ‘tractor style’ tracks in the sand are a sure sign that a female turtle has come ashore the previous night. Each nest is checked to confirm it contains eggs and is allocated an individual identification number.
If the nest is at risk from predators, poachers or tidal inundation the Conservation Officer carefully relocates it to a safer area using internationally approved nest relocation protocols. Each nest is monitored during the two month incubation period and following hatching, the Conservation Officer calculates hatching success by excavating the nest to count the number of hatched eggs, rotten eggs and failed embryos. Data from all six districts are stored in a central database at the Sea Sense HQ and are used to identify important nesting sites, determine nesting seasonality and assess trends in nesting activity.
Since the programme started, over 4,800 nests have been monitored and more than 359,000green and hawksbill turtle hatchlings have safely reached the sea to begin their long journey to adulthood.