By working with local communities in Liberia we are making sure that turtles can nest safely.
Poachers have turned into protectors as we encourage them to think about how important turtles are. Our nightly patrols ensure that turtles can nest safely and return to the sea.
It is crucial that the local people who can make a difference are given safe and effective training to patrol and safeguard nesting turtles. We are raising awareness of turtles, their nesting habitats and breeding habits, and the dangers they face. Our training will be clear and transferable, ensuring that communities are equipped with the knowledge and understanding to protect turtles in the long term.
- Greater protection of turtles
- EJF will work with local communities in Liberia to safeguard turtles and their eggs.
- EJF will raise awareness of the ecological importance of sea turtles and their eggs.
Poacher turned protector
I used to be a turtle poacher, but am now a turtle protector, because of awareness training from EJF. I want to protect these sea animals from extinction. More awareness in the community, through community engagement meetings and training more protectors will be important for turtle protection in the long term.
Dominic Nyankun - EJF Patroller
Location: West Africa, between Côte d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone
Population: 4.6 million
Life expectancy: 61 years (men) 63 (women)
Household Income: 83% of population live on less than $1.25 a day
Each of the patrollers we are working with approached EJF, wanting to learn more about sea turtles and help in their protection. EJF are looking to develop the project by investing more in these patrollers.
I like working for EJF because I like projects that protect the sea animals and help fishermen in protecting their livelihood from illegal fishing trawlers. We urgently need more turtle protection and patrols to help save them. The greatest danger to turtles is that poaching prevents them from nesting. The poachers also take eggs from the nests. That is killing them. In the long term, I want to have more beach patrols and more community awareness.
Isaac Weah, EJF’s Biodiversity Officer, grew up in Grand Kru
Turtle Poaching in Liberia
Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles are lost worldwide because of human activities. These include destructive fishing methods, poaching of nesting turtles and their eggs, plastic pollution and climate change.
In Liberia, turtles are often poached for their meat and shells, while many turtle nests are poached for their eggs.
Turtle poaching is illegal in Liberia, but a lack of resources means the government are unable to enforce it.
Working with the community
Regular meetings with village chiefs, youth leaders, fishing chiefs, and government representatives are vital to understand why poaching is so prevalent. We want to find out why turtles are being killed, and whether there are changes that can be made within the community to deter poachers through removing the incentives. We will be conducting interviews with the communities, and with poachers to find out how we can protect turtles in the long term.
Meetings give a voice to the community and enable them to raise concerns or make suggestions. These meetings have revealed that two communities are unable to fish, and turtle meat seems to be a source of protein for these communities. By finding out the true reasons turtles are being killed, we can establish real solutions to this problem. Solutions that save turtles and help the communities.
Turtles wait 25 years until they are able to reproduce, with females returning to the beach where they were born to lay their eggs. Even then, very few hatchlings survive their first year. 1 egg in 1000 makes it to adulthood.
EJF are working to reduce and ultimately eliminate turtle poaching in Grand Kru
The more meetings EJF has, the more protectors we can recruit and the more patrols we can run means more turtles protected.
You can help us protect turtles by donating to our turtle conservation campaign. Your donation will help train patrollers, and make sure they have the specialist equipment they need, including red wavelength torches, mobile phones and measuring apparatus.
This ambitious project will fund community projects which replace the drivers of turtle poaching, and make sure that the community are trained in contributing to our scientific understanding of turtle behaviour.