30 November, 2022

It has been an interesting couple of months for the LBF team. We attended the first Turtle Rescue Roundtable in Nigeria and between October and November we have participated in 3 sea turtle rescue missions.

The LBF team, represented by our founder, Chief Ganiyu Olalekan Bakare, attended the first Turtle Rescue Roundtable in Nigeria on the 10th of November 2022, where governmental and non-governmental organisations, conservationists and other relevant stakeholders met to discuss the importance of protecting sea turtles along the Lagos coastline and across Nigeria.

Sea turtles are the flagship species of the ocean and Nigeria is home to five species of turtles who all have a role to play in our ecosystem. The Leatherback turtle feeds on jellyfish which are poisonous to fish. The Green turtle eats sea grass and keeps the ocean oxygenated. Turtles also fertilize our beaches when they come ashore to lay their eggs.

Sea Turtles are endangered due to litter, fishing nets, plastic, ghost fishing, oil and chemical pollution. Female turtles come to shore to lay their eggs and are then in danger of being caught and sold for meat. Turtles are also caught in fishing nets which they damage.

Healthy oceans need sea turtles.  Reversing the decline of critically endangered species such as the leatherback turtle will directly economically impact the Nigerian coastal communities by having healthier oceans and bringing fish back into the artisan fishermen’s nets. More fish in the nets equals more income and other economic benefits to declining fishing communities.

The first sea turtle was captured and rescued on the 12th of October 2022 by Friends Of The Sea alongside Lekan Bakare Foundation and other partner NGOs on Elegushi Beach , the second sea turtle named “Asake” was captured and rescued on 9th November 2022 at Kids Beach Garden in the Elegushi Area of Lagos State.

The third sea turtle was rescued by a member of the Lekan Bakare Foundation team in the Badagry area of Lagos State on the 30th of November 2022. We named her “Ayanfe” which means “Beloved” in Yoruba language.

Due to global warming and increased human activities on the coastlines, sea turtles are endangered and a decline in sea turtle populations can have a detrimental effect on artisanal fishermen and fishing communities.

The world’s oceans have been experiencing enormous blooms of jellyfish, apparently caused by overfishing, declining water quality, and rising sea temperatures. Jellyfish prefer the warmer waters that are a result of global climate change. In Nigeria today, fishermen have observed a large increase in the number of jellyfish in their nets and also a decrease in fishing populations.

This makes the protection of Nigeria’s leatherback sea turtles, the main predators of jellyfish, critical. If leatherback sea turtles were to disappear, the increase in jellyfish populations could continue and could have devastating consequences on Nigeria’s fishing population and worsen food insecurity while affecting the livelihoods of millions.

The LBF team aims to continue raising public awareness of sea turtle welfare, their purpose in our fishing ecosystem and the consequences of their extinction, by spreading awareness through formal education, training, and networking with local artisan fishermen and relevant government and non-government organisations.

It will take the collective effort of everybody to ensure we protect sea turtles for healthier oceans and for future generations. #ProtectTheBluePlanet

Name : Ayanfe

Species : Olive Ridley

Location : Badagry waterside

Size : 3 feet in length and 2 feet in width

Captured and Rescued : 29th Nov 2022

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