Sea Turtle Nesting Project
Under The Wave is an NGO registered in Zanzibar dedicated to marine conservation. One of the activities carried out by Under The Wave is to collect turtle nests in the northeast of Zanzibar in collaboration with the local communities. The NGO relocates them to a secure area in order to protect them from poachers and natural threats. After 50 days, the eggs hatch and the hatchlings are released into the ocean in the next hour following their birth.
The goal is to maximize their chance of survival by minimizing human interference.
Nests are collected at least once per week during the nesting season. Under The Wave is expecting to relocate between 35 and 40 nests per year, representing approximately 4500 hatchlings released per year.
The Threats to Sea Turtles
The northeast of Zanzibar is the home to a great variety of species, including marine turtles. Several years ago, dozens of Green & Hawksbill turtles were seen every day, yet, nowadays only a few remains. In Zanzibar, sea turtles are protected by both international and national legislation. Despite current laws, local communities are still killing them for their meat and eggs.
Why Sea Turtles are important?
They maintain marine habitats healthy and balance the food web by controlling the abundance of other species. It is crucial to help the next generation of turtles to save the population in the region.
Sea Turtle Life Cycle
Sea turtles are air-breather reptiles that live most of their life in the ocean, but females come on the beach to nest every two or three years. They dig a cavity and lay between 50 to 200 eggs depending on the species. After 50 to 60 days, the hatchlings will emerge from the nest and dash toward the ocean. It will take between 20 and 35 years for hatchlings to reach sexual maturity. They will head back to where they were born to mate starting the cycle again.
About Under The Wave
Under The Wave is a Non-Profit Organization located at Matemwe, in the North-East of Zanzibar. The NGO was created by Scubafish Zanzibar dive center owners and two marine biologists, Laura & Ludovic.
Under The Wave has a strong desire to protect the marine life in the North East of Zanzibar.
One of the jewels of Zanzibar is Mnemba atoll, located in the North of Matemwe. The atoll present one of the most beautiful coral reefs of Zanzibar. It displays a high diversity of marine life: sea turtles, bottlenose dolphins & hundreds of fish species. However, for some years, the increasing activities of tourism and local fisheries around Mnemba atoll are putting more pressure on the reef and in long term may killed it. It is important to start protecting the reef and to help local communities in order to develop more sustainable fishing practices.
Please read a letter of the NGO’s founder, Yong Mi:
After 15 years in beautiful Zanzibar, I was ready to move on and go back to Europe again. But the reason I stayed for such a long time in Zanzibar was the love for the ocean and the underwater world.
Even in a remote place like Zanzibar I could see the changes over the years. The first years it was an underwater world paradise with many healthy corals, plenty of turtles, sharks, rays and schools of fishes. After 10 years I already saw the decline in fish, corals and turtles. When I saw first easy 20-40 turtles in one day that has changed to only 1 TURTLE in 1 MONTH after 15 years! This broke my heart and so I investigated how this all happened!
The local community, where most of the people are not educated, were eating turtles and poaching the eggs. I found out by organising meetings with the head villagers and teaching them more about the marine life and turtles, they were willing to listen. I interviewed many fishermen in 8 villages about how much fish there were 15 years ago and now. Even the fishermen were wondering where the fish were!
We started with Ludovic and Laura, 2 marine biologists, a turtle hatchery where we re-locate the eggs of the turtles to make sure they don’t get poached. Of course we involve the local community because at the end this is for their future and the next generation too.
Once back in The Netherlands I started a Stichting (NGO) with Mirjam Diederen, Arjen Hooij and Martine Keukenkamp. I still wanted to be part of my own passion the Ocean and the Underwater World. That’s why we set up “The Living Ocean” – a non-profit foundation that conserves, develops and protects marine eco systems. We support many projects with the NGO “Under The Wave Zanzibar” in Zanzibar.
That’s why I want to ask you if you could help us, so we can start with our educational programs, coral farm and continuing with our turtle farm. Please like our Instagram and Facebook page “The Living Ocean” and comment on it, so we can reach a bigger audience. And if you can spare something, any donations are more then welcome and we appreciate any support!
Yong Mi, founder of Under The Wave
You can also volunteer in Zanzibar. The activities of Under The Wave are part of World Unite!'s Mother Nature Environmental Conservation Volunteering program.