Monday, August 1, 2016

Turtles facing extinction in Quirimbas

Three species of sea turtles are at risk of disappearing from the Quirimbas National Park (PNQ) in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado due to the actions of poachers.According to a report by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), 45 turtles are killed illegally every week. This is threatening the three species found in the national park – the green, olive ridley, and hawksbill turtles.The worst affected areas are Palanguzi, Bassuara, and Paessura in the district of Quissanga. Other areas mentioned were the breeding and spawning beaches at Quirimba, Ibo, Senkar, Mefunvo, Matemo, Arimba and Guludo.The beach at Palanguzi is mainly covered with mangrove swamps, which provide favourable conditions for turtles to feed, grow, and reproduce. However, the WWF calls the area a “turtle graveyard” due to the dozens of shells and skulls scattered among the trees.According to the report, the turtles are killed for their meat and for their shells which are sold in the local markets as bowls or bags.The report points out that turtles are used as a resource for humans in many parts of the country’s coast including the Quirimbas Archipelago, Mozambique Island, Vilanculos and the Bazaruto Archipelago, Maxixe, Tofo, Jangamo, Xai-Xai, Bilene, Macaneta, Inhaca, and Matutuine.
Resultado de imagem para quirimbas
On Inhaca Island, in the south of the country, oil from the fat of the leatherback turtle is used to waterproof the joints of boats and in cooking. In addition, parts of the turtle shell are used by in traditional medicine.The PNQ park wardens concede that oversight is weak due to the large area and lack of staff. The maritime inspector, Paulo Malenga, regretted that there are not enough human resources to deal with the situation. He told WWF that he needed at least a dozen staff to cover his patch from Pemba in the south to Pangane to the north.Turtles have been protected by law in Mozambique since 1965 and the sale of turtle meat is illegal. The green turtle is on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list of endangered species.The PNQ is a fully protected area covering around 7,500 square kilometres. It consists of the islands of the Quirimbas Archipelago and a large stretch of mainland bush and forest.

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