Turtle conservation efforts in Akassa Kingdom
By Capt. Roselyn Kete
As an indigene of Sangana Akassa Kingdom of Bayelsa State and a master mariner, the marine environment is home for me and should be appreciated as much as possible. And there is no denying the fact that the marine resources give us life; the clean air we breathe, the food we get from the sea as well as the many other resources we exploit for economic gains.
Each time I remember home and knowing that Akassa kingdom is a treasure base of diverse species of turtles, I am simply happy. Actually, I have become even happier knowing how much effort is being made to ensure that the sea turtles are protected and returned to the safety of the sea when they are washed ashore.
All thanks to Raynus Henry Ebiegberi and the rest of the team doing great work at the turtle conservation centre in Akassa Kingdom.
Ebiegbere had shared a story on how his enlightenment campaign among the locals encouraged a young boy in Oginibiri to disclose that they had some bycatch turtles in his area. As promised the young boy, Shell Petroleum Development Company heard of the conservation effort and engaged the boy as a tour guide and rewarded him adequately for the job he did. That was very encouraging, to excite our people to support and be a part of nature conservation, particularly understanding the importance of protecting marine life for our own greater benefit.
I am also pleased by his report that the very little efforts they are making for the conservation of the turtles is worth the pain, though he also talked about a significantly reduced population of species. At least they make some contributions to the data on conservation chains, which keeps Akassa on a good of history in this regard.
I also appreciate this fact that was shared: “Sea turtle eggs…about 96% hatches in 60days according to the specie; 54% may survive and will find its way back to the same shore to nest after 15-30 years and the rest percentage dies unhatched. They are eaten by other animals; whether terrestrial or aquatic. Egg shells become manure that aids the growth of coastal plants (dune systems) that protect the shorelines.”
Capt. Roselyn Kete is Nigeria’s first female master mariner