Dear supporter of conservation and ecotourism in Robertsport, in West Africa, and in the world:

Did you know that of the five species of sea turtles that nest on the beaches of Grand Cape Mount County (where Robertsport is), two — the leatherback (the baby one on the sand) and the hawksbill (the one in the water, below)— are critically endangered?

Let me ask you a question. How would it feel for these critically endangered sea turtles to become extinct in our lifetimes while we had the opportunity to do something?

I believe that, however small, our actions to care for and restore the Earth and her communities are powerful and impactful beyond our wildest expectations. I have seen that, again and again.

Just so you know, all five of the species of sea turtles that nest around Robertsport are endangered — green turtles, loggerhead turtles and olive Ridly turtles are all endangered.

And it’s not that hard to save some of them.

A few years ago, we tested our pilot Sea Turtle Rescue project in Robertsport. We hired a former turtle poacher to oversee the rescue of sea turtles captured in fishermen’s nets before they ended up in the pot. We were, with very little seed money, promisingly successful.

We’ve been slowly gathering support for a larger, longer-term Sea Turtle Rescue project with our partners, community board members, and local stakeholders. Because sea turtles have been shown to benefit tourism, the community is eager to explore the program.

In our favor is that the Government of Liberia has taken strong steps to safeguard the biodiversity of Grand Cape Mount by gazetting the Lake Piso Multiple Use Reserve, which includes significant stretches of coastline. Turtles are already known to be protected wildlife, with consequences for their killing, but there are many turtles caught and enforcement is irregular.

Here’s our plan. The Sea Turtle Rescue Project will rescue, hatch and release endangered sea turtles that come to nest or are born on the beaches of Grand Cape Mount County, Liberia.

Of course, this isn’t going to happen right away. At Robertsport Community Work, everything takes time as everything needs consensus.

The idea is to fund the Sea Turtle Rescue Project entirely through community-based tourism revenues from and around Robertsport, Liberia. This would create a viable livelihood for young men in Robertsport and Grand Cape Mount communities in the growing field of conservation and community-based tourism.

The Sea Turtle Rescue project would foster biodiversity and ecological awareness in the Robertsport and Grand Cape Mount communities through the creative use of community-based radio like at Radio Piso, and with photography, art, crafts and other education and outreach methods.

Creating clear economic benefits for communities participating in the Sea Turtle Rescue Project will advance biodiversity and conservation tourism in Liberia and the region. Not to mention that creating a turtle conservation project that meets local needs and creates tourism-based jobs will improve the quality of life for families in Robertsport and Grand Cape Mount County.

So, we don’t need a lot of money to run this project. Just $5,000 a year for Phase 1: Rescue and Release. I’ll be writing more about the project and the partnerships we’re creating to make this happen.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the project and how you can help, email me at elie@robertsportcommunityworks.org. Join our Sea Turtle Rescue team!

* The Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) and the Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) are considered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature to be critically endangered. The Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas), the Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta) and the Olive Ridley Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) are listed as endangered.

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One Response to Sea Turtle Rescue is Back

  1. Tamar says:

    Well done! I remember surfing with some turtles in Robertsport. What an awesome project!

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