In the early morning hours of the 16th March 2015 a female Olive Ridley turtle scrambled up Watamu beach to lay her eggs.
This is an event worth noting as very special as the vast majority of nests in this area are laid by Green Turtles. The last Olive Ridley nesting we encountered through our Nest Monitoring and Protection Programme was back in April 2013. Out of over 600 nests we have recorded through this programme since 1997, just 18 have been laid by Olive Ridleys.
This particular female Olive Ridley laid her nest in a stretch of the Marine National Park that has seen a dramatic increase in human activity in recent years (Plot 40). There are a very high number of beach operators, curio stalls and sun beds on this once prime nesting site for turtles. Tourists from nearby hotels flock to the area every day. The close proximity of this nest to all this human activity was very worrying for our Nest Monitors and the decision was made to relocate the nest to a more suitable area.
We invited the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Watamu team to join us for the relocation of this special nest and after a briefing on the procedure from our Nest Monitors, Assistant Warden Ntindi really enjoyed the opportunity to get stuck in and helped to delicately remove the eggs from the nest.
There were 101 eggs in this, our 12th nest of the year. The whole LOT team is now looking forward to the early weeks of May when hopefully we will see many Olive Ridley hatchlings running, as fast as their little flippers can carry them, back into the Indian Ocean.