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Kenya

Funzi Island

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Conservation benefit: Sea turtle conservation activities for a minimum of 10 years

Community benefit: Construction of a display facility and office for conservation and ecotourism programs

Date Approved: 01.2010

Ocean

This project protects ocean ecosystems, making coastal communities more economically and physically secure in the face of climate change.

Funzi Island is located off the Kenyan South Coast and has a population of about 1,500. The island hosts an array of ecosystems, including undisturbed coastal wetlands, mangrove forests, palms, sandy beaches, creeks, estuaries, and undisturbed lowland coastal mixed forests. Five sea turtle species – leatherback, loggerhead, green, hawksbill, and olive ridley – forage or nest 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, Seacology will fund construction of a facility that will serve multiple purposes. It will be an office for the Funzi Turtle Club, which conducts sea turtle monitoring, nest protection and translocation, adoption of tagged nesting turtles, and turtle release programs. Turtle souvenirs – earrings, doormats, and turtle models – from flip-flop sandals that wash ashore will be made and sold there. Conservation activities will take place in 15,073 acres  of land and sea that are important feeding and nesting sites for turtles.

Project Updates

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.

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July 2010

Field representative Dishon Murage visited Funzi Island in June 2010. He reports that in the past six months, three 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 six months, 3,214 mangroves have been planted. There are currently six known sea turtle nests in Funzi; these are vigilantly guarded and protected by constant monitoring and patrols. The project experienced delays in acquiring land at a competitive price for the construction of the display banda, as the increasing appeal of Funzi Island as a tourist destination brought about inflation of land prices. However, suitable land has been found, and KESCOM has initiated the process to purchase it.

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Full or partial funding for this project provided by Seacology UK.

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