A research team of KMFRI in collaboration with other agencies undertakes a rapid forensic investigation on the possible causes of the mysterious deaths reported for sea turtles at Marereni, Kilifi county.
Marereni Beach Management Unit (BMU) and Marereni Biodiversity Conservancy (MABICO) reported 59 cases of mysterious deaths of sea turtles between 1st January and 17th February 2021.
Kenya has a total of five species: the green turtle, Chelonia mydas, hawksbill turtle, Eretmochelys imbricata, loggerhead turtle, Caretta caretta, olive ridley turtle, Lepidochelys olivacea, and the leatherback turtle, Dermochelys coriacea, with each associated with a critical conservation status based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This calls for multi-agency collaborations to help their conservation.
KMFRI is working in collaboration with Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Kenya Fisheries Service (KeFS), Kenya Coast Guard (KCG), BMU and Conservancy to determine the likely cause of this upsurge in turtle deaths.
While the causes of these deaths could be wide-ranging, the team led by Dr Gladys Okemwa and Dr Thomas Mkare is on a specific mission to find out whether some of the deaths reported for sea turtles could be associated with problems such as parasites, bacteria, viruses, harmful algae and plants.