Funzi Island is located off the south coast of Kenya and has a population of about 1,500. The island is home 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 – forage or nest there. Poaching, habitat degradation, soil erosion, destructive fishing practices, incidental capture, and development threaten the sea turtles.
Working with the Kenya Sea Turtle Conservation Committee, Seacology funded construction of a display facility. It also serves as an office for the Funzi Turtle Club’s activities. In this way, it provides support for community-based sea turtle monitoring, nest protection and relocation, adoption of tagged nesting turtles, and turtle release programs. The protected area covers 15,073 acres. It includes both terrestrial and marine habitats that are important feeding and nesting sites for turtles.
Local women make turtle souvenirs – earrings, doormats, and turtle models – from flip-flops that wash ashore. When Program Manager Karen Peterson visited the project in 2013, she saw that the women had poor quality and scarce equipment. This grant will let them buy quality craft-making equipment.