Zanzibar is one of the best holiday destinations in Africa with an archipelago of small unique islands.
Tourists find here various excursion destinations like amazing beaches, colourful reefs, historical places, cultural experiences, a relaxing atmosphere, and delicious seafood. It will be an impressive and unique holiday.
One of those unique places is known as Nungwi Aquarium Adventures, a turtles’ paradise of earth that lets you feel to be a part of it.
All species of sea turtles are endangered, and their population is constantly declining. Around 85 per cent of all sea turtle deaths are caused by human intervention. This includes poaching for turtle meat, eggs, shells, and fins, which is also widespread in Tanzania. Also, gillnets and trawling nets for fishing are deadly traps for sea turtles. Heavy human construction activity along beaches and coasts for tourism purposes is often done without considering the needs of turtle populations. Plastic waste floating in the ocean is often swallowed by marine turtles, causing their death.
Hawksbill turtles are not exempt and have traditionally been hunted around Zanzibar for their attractive shells, and green turtles for their meat. In 1993, with encouragement and assistance from various conservation bodies and some dedicated marine biologists, the local community opened the Aquarium.
The aquarium was created around a large, natural, tidal pool in the coral rock behind the beach. At the sanctuary, in large natural lagoon sea turtles are kept, which were rescued with injuries, medically treated, and released into the ocean again. Also, turtle eggs are collected from beaches where due to human pressure, their survival is at risk. The eggs are incubated inside the protected area of the sanctuary and the baby turtles are kept in pools and released into the ocean once they reach a certain size.
Turtles frequently nest on Nungwi Beach, and village volunteers now mark and monitor new nests. The resulting hatchlings are carried to small plastic basins and small concrete tanks at the aquarium where they remain for ten months. By this time, they have grown to ten inches and their chances of survival at sea are dramatically increased. One by one, these turtles are then released into the sea, along with the largest turtle from the aquarium pool. The one remaining baby turtle is then added to the pool ensuring a static population of 17 turtles.
In spite of the aquarium being little more than a glorified rock pool, it’s fascinating to see the turtles at close quarters. Further, the money raised secures the project’s future and goes towards local community schemes – in a bid to demonstrate the tangible value of turtle conservation to the local population. With luck, this will lessen the trade in souvenir shell products and ensure the species’ survival.
It’s amazing to see the efforts people make to ensure the world is a more liveable place, even for turtles. This location should definitely be on your list of places to visit.
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