12 November 2020

Endangered Sea Turtles Are Being Protected

Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) supports the conservation of endangered sea turtles in the Gambia.

This week, another group of live baby turtles was released into the sea from the two turtle hatcheries built by TİKA in the coastal fishing village of Sanyang, which is an hour’s drive from the capital of the Gambia, Banjul.

Thanks to the two turtle hatcheries completed by TİKA in 2019 and made ready for the spawning season of 2020, thousands of baby turtles reached the sea safely.

Personal protective equipment, motorcycles, bicycles, and GPS devices to be used in turtle conservation operations on beaches, as well as floodlights to be used in training courses, were provided to the Smile for Life Association, an NGO established by volunteers to protect the marine life and sea turtles. In addition, two turtle hatcheries were built.

In his speech during the release of baby turtles into the sea, Omar Sanyang, one of the officials of the Smile for Life, stated that the project aims to increase the population of sea turtles, which are endangered due to hunting and pollution.

He said, “Until TİKA’s intervention, the Gambia lacked a standard hatchery. TİKA built two standard hatcheries for us and supported the project by providing the necessary materials.”

Since July, more than 4,300 turtle eggs have been taken from their nests and brought into the hatchery to protect them from predators and hunters. Since the release of the first baby turtles into the sea on September 19, 3,536 baby turtles have reached the Atlantic Ocean safely. More babies are expected to hatch in the coming weeks.

Modou Kebbeh, one of the volunteers, said, “People are now more interested in the conservation of sea turtles, which makes the project even more successful.”

Considering the great tourism potential of the Gambia, TİKA aims to contribute to employment and the development of ecotourism with the Turtle Conservation Project and the newly-launched Gambia Beach Clean-Up Project.


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