KENYA, Funzi Island - January 2010
Construction of a display facility/office for conservation and ecotourism programs in exchange for sea turtle conservation activities for a minimum duration of 10 years
Funzi Island is located off the Kenyan South Coast and has a population of about 1,500 inhabitants. The island plays host to an array of ecosystem types including undisturbed coastal wetlands, mangrove forests, swaying palms, sandy beaches, creeks, estuary and undisturbed lowland coastal mixed forests. Five sea turtle species - Leatherback, Loggerhead, Green, Hawksbill and Olive ridley turtle – are found foraging or nesting on and around the island. Poaching, habitat degradation, soil erosion, destructive fishing practices, incidental capture and development are threats to these sea turtles. Working with the Kenya Sea Turtle Conservation Committee (KESCOM), Seacology will fund construction of a display facility which will also serve as an office for the Funzi Turtle Club’s activities, as well as support for community based-sea turtle monitoring activities, nest protection and translocation, adoption of tagged nesting turtles and turtle release programs. There will also be eco-tourism activities including developing turtle souvenirs - earrings, doormats and turtle models - from flip flop sandals washed ashore. Conservation activities will take place in a 15,073-acre area including both terrestrial and marine ecosystems, that serve as important feeding and nesting sites of the five locally-found species of turtles.
UPDATE July 2010 - Field representative Dishon Murage visited Funzi Island in June 2010. He reports that in the past 6 months, 3 beach clean-ups have been organized, with 136.5 kgs of litter collected. KESCOM, partnering with Global Vision International and working with Funzi Turtle Conservation group has on a weekly basis continued to organize mangrove planting days, which often include participation of non-members and school children. During the last 6 months, 3,214 mangroves have been planted. There are currently 6 known sea turtle nests in Funzi; these are vigilantly guarded and protected by way of constant monitoring and patrols. The project experienced delays in acquiring land at a competitive price for the construction of the display banda. This arose from the increasing appeal of Funzi Island as a tourist destination which brought about inflation of land prices. However, suitable land has been found and KESCOM has immediately initiated the process to purchase the land from the owner.
UPDATE January 2011 - After delays in acquiring land at a competitive price, the project finally acquired a piece of land on Funzi, chosen for its easy access and beach frontage, which makes it ideal for a walk-by visit from visitors. Currently, the Funzi Turtle Club (FTC) is awaiting land transfer procedures to be complete. Meanwhile, construction of the display facility is at 80 percent and is on course for completion in August. The activity has created work for local people and also utilizes volunteer labor from club members. The FTC has endeavored to keep the five sea turtle nesting beaches around the island clean by regularly carrying out clean-up activities. These activities have extended from the beaches into the village, since it has been proven that over 70 percent of improperly disposed domestic garbage ends up in the sea. Since January 2010, the FTC has planted 30,303 mangroves on the island; the planting sessions have been popular with tourists and locals alike. With targeted education and awareness, as well as legislation to protect the mangroves, the future looks green for Funzi Island.
Indicates full or partial funding by Seacology UK