Thursday, 14 October 2010

Turtle Adventures

Thonga Beach Lodge and Kosi Forest Lodge are about to become the turtle enthusiasts playground of choice once again! Turtle tracking begins on the 1st November at Thonga Beach Lodge and continues until 28th February each year. The Kosi Forest Lodge turtle tracking season is open from 15th November till 15th January annually.

Both lodges support the Loggerhead and Leatherback Turtle monitoring programmes. Seven species of marine turtles exist in the world's oceans today, all of them have unique lifestyles in that they travel great distances and take decades to mature. This makes turtles important indicators of ocean health. There are five species found off the Kwa-Zulu Natal Coast, namely, the loggerhead, leatherback, hawksbill, green and Olive Ridley turtles. Of these five species that occur in South African waters, only the loggerhead and leatherback females nest along our shores.

The purpose of this project is to monitor and record nesting populations of loggerhead and leatherback sea turtles along the eastern seaboard and simultaneously provide protection of the females during this vulnerable stage on the shore. Furthermore to establish an annual population census and determine distribution of nesting loggerhead and leatherback sea turtles in South Africa and Southern Mozambique.

What the Loggerhead and Leatherback Turtle Monitoring programmes have achieved so far;
• The ongoing monitoring and conservation efforts have had a positive effect on population size. Since the programme began a total of 46, 893 loggerhead and 11,509 leatherback females have nested on the beaches of The Greater St Lucia Wetland Park.
• Scientific information has been obtained about the nesting and non-nesting distribution range.
• The role of Agulhas current in distribution of hatchlings has been established.
• The conservation effort contributed to the establishment of Marine Protected Areas
• Management actions are in line with international conventions.
• International recognition and collaboration were obtained for both research and management of the breeding populations of turtles and provided guidelines for conservation activities in the South Western Indian Oceans.
• The programme served to increase public awareness and create tourism benefits along the Park's beaches.

At Thonga Beach Lodge the sightings on our nightly walks and turtle drives are recorded and submitted to the Turtle Programme. At Kosi Forest Lodge we support the community Concession that runs the Turtle Safaris. The sightings from these excursions are also submitted to the programme.

Grab the opportunity to enjoy this environmentally friendly activity when you book into Thonga Beach Lodge or Kosi Forest Lodge. Book here today!

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