A message of hope from LibyaMay 30, 2018
Libyan conservation teams back on the beaches to protect and monitor sea turtles
Sea turtle conservation efforts in Libya came to a halt in 2010 when the conflict began. However, since 2017, thanks to a more favourable security context coupled with support from MAVA, Libyan conservation teams have been able to go and work on the beaches again.
Almokhtar Saied, coordinator of Libyan Sea turtle programme, Environment General Authority , says: “In 2017, we monitored about 200 km of the Libyan coastline. We recorded only 301 nests, which is less than half of the 2010 counts, because we started to monitor in August (ed. which is late in the nesting season) but also because we lost some places for sea turtles where people are now using 4X4 cars on beaches.”
Despite the low number of nests monitored, having teams back in the field and taking care of endangered species in this context is a great message of hope and a success in itself.
This encouraging news was shared in May 2018 in Monastir, Tunisia, with MAVA’s Mediterranean based partners working on a regional project to conserve sea turtles in the Mediterranean region.
All teams involved in this project, including the Libyan team, are now ready to start monitoring sea turtles at Mediterranean level in a coordinated way. For the first time also, a simultaneous survey will be conducted on genetic and sand temperature. This coordination is crucial to understand the breeding behavior of sea turtles in the Mediterranean and to clearly identify conservation priorities.
“This meeting was one of the most important meetings I attended to set a clear vision for all partners and to share knowledge. Individual work will not lead you to success, the team is the key to overcome all difficulties. This work on sea turtles represents to me a natural message that must be delivered to the future generations”, says Almokhtar Saied.
The regional project Conservation of sea turtles in the Mediterranean region is part of MAVA’s action plan on protecting sea turtle nesting sites: launched in 2017, the project is coordinated by the Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas (RAC/SPA). It is implemented by seven partners in 13 countries of the Mediterranean basin. The objective is to reinforce the protection of sea turtle nesting sites in areas which have little attention and where conservation efforts are limited.