Last week we went to Saadani National Park, the only protected area in Tanzania which includes terrestrial and marine wildlife – where bush meets the beach! Our aim was to check the status of conservation activities as well as tourism issues. This area is situated north of Dar es Salaam and is sandwiched between the two historical towns of Bagamoyo and Pangani. The area has lots of wildlife including elephant, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest and lion. It is also an important area for nesting green turtles. This year, we have recorded 16 nests on Madete beach, which is protected within the park boundaries.
During our trip, we visited Maziwe Island to check for turtle nests. This island was once vegetated and there were records of olive ridleys nesting. However, the island is now completely inundated during spring tides and many nests are washed away, due to removal of the vegetation. While there, we saw the tracks of a large green turtle. However, we didn’t manage to find her eggs. We will now be monitoring the island every neap tide. If we find eggs, they will be moved to the mainland beach for protection.
We also received reports from local fishermen that 3 green turtles and 1 leatherback turtle were found washed up on the beach with injuries to their heads, presumably having been hit by local fishers as they struggled to recover their nets.