Senegalese Turtles Have Been Given A Second Chance At Life

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Djibril Diakhate was walking along a Senegalese beach at night when he saw 140 hatchling turtles clambering out of their nest and sprinting towards the glistening water. He had a clear view of the show thanks to his pair of binoculars. There were “Turtles!” shouted Diakhate, jumping up and down excitedly.

Senegalese Turtles Have Been Given A Second Chance At Life

Green turtles may incubate their eggs for up to 75 nights each year, so this 47-year-old bartender keeps an eye on the beach for that length of time each year to ensure that the eggs are safe from predators until they hatch. This is done to shield the eggs of green turtles from predators until they are ready for hatching.

Senegalese Turtles Have Been Given A Second Chance At Life

The birth of these turtles has always left an impact on me, and he replied when asked about it. Hatching sent him to his knees with joy and awe at the same time. Even though hundreds of turtle eggs are deposited each year around the West African shores, a night like this is becoming rarer in Guerrero, the beachside hamlet where Diakhate lives.

Increasing fishing, tourism, and construction have reduced the number of turtle nesting places in Senegal. These activities have led to the turtles being classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

A number of vulnerable and endangered species are found in Senegal, including turtles. Fewer than a handful of turtles had laid eggs in Guerrero this generation, according to Diakhate’s estimations, down from the previous generation’s hundreds.

The COVID-19 epidemic, on the other hand, has brought relative peace to the area’s beaches. According to data given by the environment ministry, Guero’s beach was home to 15 turtle nests last season, up from two the year before.

The Turtle Nest restaurant in Diakhate gained notoriety when a mother turtle laid her eggs behind the bar. Diakhate had to move his business to a new site because of the high demand for his eggs.

SMPR President Saliou Mbodji attributes the change to the COVID-19 legislation, which banned local fishing and tourism enterprises in the surrounding region from taking place for most of 2020. When Mbodji came, the beaches and hotels were relatively empty, according to him.

More turtles went to the beaches to deposit their eggs as a consequence of the reduced light, leading to an increase in the overall number of eggs. More and more people go to beaches to enjoy the sand and sun, which has led to a fall in turtle numbers. This season, the number of nests detected in Guerrero dropped from nine to seven. The number of nests found this season is down from the previous season’s total.

An Oceanium conservation group in Dakar has concluded that if nesting rates recover to pre-pandemic levels, the environment would be permanently harmed. Nests are shielded from predators by cages constructed by the organization.

According to Oceanium’s turtle project manager, Charlotte Thomas, turtles consume marine algae, which is vital for the survival of other species, including tuna, lobster, and shrimp. According to the author, turtles help control the ecosystem by eating marine algae. If a food chain imbalance is not corrected, the whole ecosystem is at risk, and the turtles are in danger of extinction as a result.