Mnarani Marine Turtles Conservation Pond Zanzibar | A Must Visit
Slow and steady might win the race, but not for turtles in this day and age. In the archipelago of Zanzibar where sea turtles abound, there has also been reckless hunting of turtles. Green turtles are hunted for their meat. Hawksbill turtles are coveted for their gorgeous shells. Both are on the endangered list and are constantly facing the threat of extinction. That’s why conservation efforts are so vital in saving and helping this mighty creature.
A heroic effort has been underway for 25 years in Zanzibar. The Mnarani Marine Turtle Conservation Pond is run by the NGO, Eco & Culture Tours, in a bid to conserve the sea turtles of Zanzibar. The Pond is a natural tidal pool in Nungwi, and enjoys a beautiful location – right within a coral rock. This lagoon has a barrier, formed by old reef rocks, to separate it from the Indian Ocean. This ensures presence and privacy at the same time.
The best way to help secure the future of an animal is to ensure that the local populace is involved. Who better to know of and help with the turtles, than the fishermen? The NGO works to educate the fishermen. This is vital because turtles are often captured in nets not meant for the turtles. Education includes training fishermen on why it’s not a good idea to hunt these turtles and also the right process to release them safely from the nets and back into the ocean.
When you visit, you can do your bit to help this remarkable project in its work. Get to the information pavilion to learn more and then to the interaction platform to get a closer look at the turtles. One of the wonderful aspects of the Pond is the care and treatment of unwell and hurt turtles. A place to rest and recuperate is vital for every creature, and these animals are no exception.
The Mnarani Marine Turtle Conservation Pond is happy to have volunteers, but make sure that you’re committed to the work if you want to make an actual difference. Among the many tasks one can perform at the Pond, there are beach clean-ups, collection of seaweed for the food for the turtles, visiting the nesting beach, cleaning the tanks and refilling them with fresh water, ensuring that the space is clean and providing tours to visitors. If you’re staying for a longer period of time, do consider this option. There’s no better way to learn than to be involved.
This is a must-visit for visitors and people keen on knowing more about conservation. Education is the only way to do it. Mnarani has more than 20 villagers employed in the conservation centre. In the quarter of a century of its existence, over thousand baby turtles have been collected and over 200 turtles have been rescued as well. This is admirable on so many levels.
The name of the project comes from Swahili and means, ‘place of the lighthouse.’ Undoubtedly, this project is a shining beacon of light in ensuring the safety and growth of these beautiful sea turtles.