The cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Tourism Wildlife, and Heritage, Hon. Peninah Malonza, has today launched the Sea Turtle Conservation Protocol in Kenya, at the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Mombasa Marine Park headquarters.
Speaking during the function, the CS mentioned fishing, pollution (from plastic materials, raw sewage and industrial wastes), coastal development, direct off-take and climate change, as the 5 top most threats facing sea turtles.
“These threats have made sea turtle conservation and management policy makers and managers to enhance efforts to save the species by putting several legal protection instruments in place as well as advancement in technological solutions to support the legal instruments and research,” she said.
The CS also mentioned that, during the Convention of Parties (CoP) CITES Conference in Panama City, in November, 2022, global policymakers took bold actions and made decisions that will help threatened species like the Sea Turtles.
“The CITES conference concluded with several positives for wildlife with new and renewed global protections against the top most five threats including illegal, and unsustainable trade in wild animals and plants that could help reverse trends driving global biodiversity loss,” she said.
The CS added that member states agreed to adopt a new resolution that would commit governments to ensure they are prioritizing tackling the illegal trade of sea turtles through new DNA tracking technologies and the use of forensics.
There are 7 species of sea turtles, 5 of which occur in our country. Namely Green Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle, Loggerhead Turtle, Olive Ridleys Turtle, and the Leatherback Turtle.
The five species are categorized as endangered.
The launched protocol will serve as a guide in sea Turtle conservation activities.
The CS added that, the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage, in collaboration with the concerned institutions will embrace community engagement, stakeholder involvement, conservation research and training in addressing pressures on marine ecosystems and species.
The launch of the protocols was preceded by a beach clean up that saw 349kgs of plastics collected.
Those present included; The Principal Secretary State Department for Wildlife, Silvia Museiya, Ag. Director General Kenya Wildlife Service, Dr. Erustus Kanga, Director/CEO Wildlife Research and Training Institute, Dr. Patrick Omondi, Manager World Wildlife Fund-Coastal Kenya, Dr. Asma Awadh, among others.