The Mnarani Marine Turtle Conservation Pond is a community based NGO established in 1993 as an effort to conserve the population of sea turtles native to Zanzibar island. The Stone Town based Eco & Culture Tours NGO was the initiator of this project, and empowered the local villagers to take this conservation initiative into their own hands. Hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) have traditionally been hunted around Zanzibar for their attractive shells, and Green turtles (Chelonia mydas) for their meat.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has repeatedly listed Green turtles (Chelonia mydas) in its Red List under differing criteria. In 1982, they officially classified it as an endangered species. In 2004, the IUCN reclassified this species as endangered under the EN A2bd criteria, which essentially states the wild populations face a high risk of extinction because of several factors. Green Turtles are also listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) as a member of the family Cheloniidae. It is therefore illegal to import, export, kill, capture or harass green turtles.
In 1982 the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species first listed Hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) as endangered. This endangered status continued through several reassessments in 1986, 1988, 1990, and 1994 until it was upgraded in status to critically endangered in 1996. The species (along with the entire family Cheloniidae) has been listed on Appendix I of CITES. It is illegal to import or export turtle products, or to kill, capture, or harass Hawksbill sea turtles.
The group activities include:
- Conservation of turtles and environment
- Beach cleanups
- Beach patrols and nest protection
- Community education
- Community based tourism activities
The mission of the group is to conserve the island's turtle population by promoting education amongst local fishermen against deliberate capture of turtles and encouraging their safe release when accidentally caught.
The group now employs over 20 local villagers and has rescued more than 200 marine turtles from fishermen's nets as well as collected over a thousand hatchlings.
The group requires the support of visitors to ensure future conservation of these amazing creatures!
This project is supported by