Rode Foundation: Support for the First Marine Protected Area in Ivory Coast

We received news from one of the two winners of the Natura XXVI Prize after 6 months of activity with their project supporting the first marine protected area in Ivory Coast. From the field, they report several actions that have been implemented thanks to the donation from the Natura Prize. Let’s tell you about them!

1. Project for the protection of sea turtles through the selection and training of ecoguards

Twenty-five beach guards (two from Roc, two from Dawa, six from the village of Mani, two from the villages of Pitiké, Kablaké, Takoro, and Menolé) participate in the protection of sea turtles during nighttime patrols. They have received all the necessary equipment for their work, including tents, flashlights, batteries, raincoats, boots, mobile phones, notepads, etc.
The project is contributing significantly to the enforcement of legislation that prohibits the poaching of sea turtles and their eggs in all coastal villages of the area (recently established Marine Protected Area) and in the fishing port of Grand Béreby.
Ecoguard during nighttime surveillance.
Group of ecoguards.

2. Protection of all nesting females and nests

Eight very simple nurseries have been built using local materials near Roc, Dawa, Mani, Pitiké, Takoro, Ouro, Boupé, and Menolé to facilitate nest monitoring. The nurseries are visited every morning and evening by the project team. The aim of these nurseries is to protect nests placed in inappropriate locations and contribute to raising awareness among local communities, tourists, and visitors.

Turtle hatchery.

3. Surveillance of the nearby fishing port of Grand Béréby by the Naval Police

Currently, there are 25 turtle guards, 5 guitar fish guards, 6 forest guards, 6 trained agents from the Maritime Police, and a fully equipped patrol boat to monitor the marine part of the Marine Protected Area (MPA). Additionally, there is close collaboration with local authorities responsible for law enforcement, such as the Ministry of Fisheries, Ministry of Water and Forests, and Maritime Police. Daily inspections at landing sites to supervise fish and sea turtle catches have resulted in the release of:
– 08 juvenile green turtles in Dawa
– 3 adult hawksbill turtles and 03 juvenile green turtles in Mani

4. Crafts

A group of about 6 people has been formed, gathering every week to make bracelets, necklaces, etc., to sell to tourists. A complete training and implementation of several women’s groups from the villages have been possible to obtain sea salt by evaporating water with the help of the sun and wind instead of boiling it with mangrove firewood.

5. Guided tours for tourists

Groups of tourists have been organized to witness the nesting and hatching of turtles. Several local tourism agencies are now operating in Grand-Béréby, attracted by the growing reputation of the area as a tourist attraction.
Another example of the importance Grand-Béréby is gaining as a tourist destination is that the village of Mani Béréby (a pioneer in the protection of sea turtles) was chosen by the Ministry of Tourism as the best tourist village in Ivory Coast, making it a candidate to win an international award. Moreover, Grand-Béréby has also been selected to participate in an international competition to designate the most beautiful bays in the world.

Ecotourism activities.

We will stay in contact with the team in Ivory Coast for further updates. We are thrilled to see the winners’ projects yielding results!

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