written by Lucas Ende from Germany
September 27 update from a new member Mambo rafiki yetu
My name is Lucas and I am one of the new volunteers at the Mnarani Turtle Conservation Pond. I am from Germany and finished my Bachelor of Science in Biology this summer. Now I will be staying here in Nungwi for the next eight month to help and support this project in every way I can. In this context I’ll also be publishing a blog every two weeks to keep you updated to what goes on in our station.
I arrived here 3 weeks ago, so it is best to start with what happened since. As you might have read in previous articles of other volunteers, our daily work includes cleaning the tanks of the juvenile turtles in the morning and guiding tourist tours during the day. In the evening all turtles are fed with fish and fresh sea grass. Besides these basic activities we also had to take care of several new arrivals and cleaning the beach.
Our new arrivals include two green turtles (both about 7 years old) and a loggerhead of about 2 years of age. The green turtles were both injured by fishing hooks. One had a hook in the shoulder (I call it Captain Jack Sparrow because it is missing an eye). Jack Sparrow's hook was easily removed but the other turtle swallowed a hook (I call it Hookie). It was not possible to remove the swallowed hook because it is stuck too far down the throat. As Hookie was not eating until a few days ago, we had to keep him/her here. Jack Sparrow on the other hand recovered really well and we were glad to be able to release him/her off the Coast of Tumbatu Island this Tuesday with help of the Scuba Do Diving Centre. You notice that I cannot tell the sex of the turtles, which is because they’re not mature yet (earliest at age 20). Hookie has started eating the last couple of days, so we hope the salt water will erode the hook eventually and the problem sorts itself out. Until then we will have her/him here for observation. The loggerhead is not injured but we keep it here because at this age it is still threatened by many predators in the sea and we hope that if we feed it up to a larger size, it has a better chance to reach maturity and can help sustaining the population.
There were several cleaning activities these past weeks. First we started to arrange the disposal of the garbage produced by ourselves in a better way. We build a fence around a spot that is now our official dumpster, which is supposed to prevent the wind from blowing light plastic all over town and to the beach. Also we took part in the beach cleanup of the Scuba Do Diving Center at Kendwa Beach and had our own beach- and town cleanup just this Wednesday.
At Kendwa we were introduced to the owners of the newly opened plastic recycling company of Nungwi. We invited them to come to our own cleanup this week as well and they took the entire plastic we had collected plus the one that had accumulated from ourselves in our dumpster. It amounted to 109 kg of plastic! Therefore we had the first two beach cleanings (possibly on the whole Island) where a big amount of rubbish actually went into recycling, which is a big step. There were many highly motivated people engaged in the project of getting the recycling company started and it is a big success that it is now running. For the future we are trying to build up more awareness within the local community and hope that single households as well as hotels will use the recycling place to reduce littering and the destruction of our terrestrial and marine environment. You will find a leaflet about the Nungwi recycling centre on our facebook page.