By Gina Owen – Assistant Manager at Matemwe
This past year has been an exciting one for everyone at Matemwe! Recently we celebrated the 10th annual turtle release by Mnarani Turtle Centre, which followed a year of conservation efforts by ourselves and other organizations on the island.
Sea turtle release at Matemwe
Matemwe is very passionate about Sea Turtle conservation, and for a number of years we have rescued nests from very at risk sites. These nests are relocated to a safe nesting area on our own beach where they can be monitored right up until the turtles enter the sea, thus giving the turtle hatchlings the best chance of survival. Occasionally we have hatchlings that are too small, weak or malformed to be released immediately. These turtles we take to the Mnarani Turtle Centre in Nungwi, who do a great job of caring for and hand rearing the babies, until they are ready for release.
A release in pictures
After receiving the nests from at risk sites, we ensure the nests are placed in as natural and safe as environment as possible. When the estimate hatching date comes, our resident turtle expert Choroko checks the nest to see if the eggs have hatched. After hatching the turtles stay in their nest for a few days to gain the strength they will need for release.
Not all are ready for the journey
As for the hatchlings that are too small for release immediately, they are taken to the Mnarani Turtle Centre to grow. Where possible they are released at the Annual Turtle Release in February, though some hatchlings will stay at the turtle centre forever if they would not be likely to survive in the wild. Below is an photo of two hatchlings with deformed flippers who were on their way to the Turtle Centre for some TLC.
The Annual release
In February each year, the turtle centre does its annual release! This is a big event, attracting upwards of 100 guests. On the big day both adult turtles and baby turtles are released. Because Matemwe had such a successful hatching season, Mnarani did a big part of their release on our beach for the first time. Below are some photos from the big day, including adult turtles being released into the sea. Adult turtles often will come in to the centre after sustaining injuries caused by nets or boats. Guests are also welcome to witness the now stronger hatchlings making their way to sea and their life in the ocean.
If you are visiting us at Matemwe and would like to be a part of this experience or would like to visit the Mnarani Turtle Centre, please get in touch with us at [email protected].
If you are interested in staying at Matemwe then please enquire with us.