Installing Buoys to Protect African Turtles

by Heather Lowe 

picture2The Tocc Tocc Community Nature Reserve at Lac de Guiers in northern Senegal serves as an important aquatic habitat for many wild species, including the Adanson’s Mud Terrapin (Pelusios adansonii) and the African Manatee (Trichechus senegalensis).

Unfortunately, for many years this area has been subjected to a variety of threats including over-fishing and a high number of abandoned fishing nets, which continue to capture and accidentally kill hundreds of turtles, birds, fish and other wildlife each year.

In July 2013, representatives from all five local villages that participate in overseeing Tocc-Tocc held a community meeting in the village of Pakh. At that time, a consensus was reached to impose a ban on all fishing and an agreement to conserve the wildlife in this area.

However, implementing those actions thus far has been difficult for the team of trained Tocc - Tocc Ecoguards. The new fishing ban presented a unique challenge because there were no clear boundary markers in the aquatic part of the reserve.

picture3The TSA Africa team determined that buoys would provide a solution to this problem. Specifically, buoys that can be seen from a great distance would indicate to all lake users the borders of the prohibited fishing area.

In January, the team successfully completed the installation of these buoys, and we would like to thank our partners (Save Our Species, Sea to Shore Alliance and GEF / SGP) who gave financial support for this important conservation project.