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01.05.2013 > Stop nylon fishing nets! Read more... ... >
This is about organising outings for Ranérou school children in the natural habitat of the furrowed turtles (Centrochelys sulcata) in Katané. The children will be able to discover animals that they do not know very well or have never seen before such as the turtle. They must have heard of them in African tales….. but that is all. The furrowed turtle is ambassador to the endangered species in the Ferlo for the children participating in these outings. They will have the opportunity of seeing the turtles that were reintroduced into the Ferlo in 2006 while discovering their daily life.
The Ferlo is a Sahelian region in the North-East of Senegal. It is the last known region in the country where the following rare species of the Sahel still survive: the Thomson’s gazelle, the Red-necked ostrich, the Great Bustard but also the Furrowed turtle which is surviving with much difficulty in this part of the Senegalese Sahel. The story is the same for some plant species such as the Wild jujube of Barbary or the Baobab, which are useful trees to man for their fruits, leaves, barks, and roots and of which the numbers are greatly decreasing in all of Africa.
The Ferlo, just like the whole Sahel, is facing great threats: desertification, overgrazing, and destruction of the natural habitat. To stop the upsurge in these threats, the Senegalese government decided, in 2001, to create a 1000ha zone protected from herds and human activities. This “enclosure” is situated near the small village of Katané, in the wildlife Reserve of North Ferlo. The positive results from this enclosure are tangible. The flora there quickly regenerated and the fauna found the needed respite for its survival. Several species that had disappeared from the zone have been successfully reintroduced there: the scimitar oryx, dama gazelle, dorcas gazelle, and the furrowed turtle. However, because of its rarity, the Sahelian biodiversity has become unknown to men. As the saying goes: “we can only protect what we know”.
At Ranérou, the town leading to the reserve (situated about 30km from Katané); the children know neither the turtle nor the fauna of their region. However, Ranérou’s school children are the first ones to be involved in the awareness actions on the protection of the biodiversity. Indeed, in a few years from now, they will be the ones to make important decisions for their region and its conservation will be based on the knowledge they have of it. So, the principle is simple: to spend a day there with an experienced forest patroller, an officer of the Parks and a host to lead the children to discover what happens at Katané. The children will, thus, have the opportunity to discover this flora and fauna that have become rare, their specificity and their threats. Each theme is review, explained, and expatiated on with the help of the secondary school’s biology teachers and the officers of the national parks.
In order to involve the whole community in the “Katané adventure”, the village youths and the community radio will be accompanying these school children during the outing thus allowing the parents to follow in their children’s adventures in the evenings when they go on air to recount their day and especially their discoveries and feelings. The Ranérou community radio is a powerful media tool in the region since it is the only accessible station. All the families in the department as well as in the department of neighbouring Matam listen to this radio in the evenings.
Abu Beidi Bâ is an experienced forest patroller who accompanies children on forest outings. Abu knows “his savanna” like no other person. Born in the Ferlo, he listened to his father’s tales about lions and elephants running in the Ferlo during the wet season and he himself has known the region when it was rich in savage wildlife. He is conscious of the rapid loss of the sole wealth of his region and of the advance of the desert. An unconditional nature lover, Abu decided to work with SOPTOM right from the beginning of the adventure, more than ten years ago.
Today, he will love to share his experience of the savanna with the young Ferlankese while warning them of the danger that a diminishing biodiversity could pose. This is why he had decided to, personally, organise and host these nature outings with the children.
Classes on nature have, up to now, been for only secondary school pupils. We would like to extend this activity to all the pupils in Ranérou. With your donations, we can organise broadcasts over the community radio, as well as transportation and food supplies for these children during outings.
The most generous donor will regularly receive information on the turtle of his/her choice that he/she would have chosen a first name for and that will become “his/her turtle” – knowing about its growth, health, behaviours and even its suitor(s) as well as rivals. You will discover the daily life of your protégé (e) during the course of the time it spends in its natural habitat.
The SOPTOM and SOS Sulcata are the ecopartners of this project. SOS Sulcata is a non-profit Senegalese association that manages the turtles village of Noflaye (Centre in charge of awareness-promotion and scientific breeding) near Dakar which is the only association in the country that is dedicated to the exclusive protection of turtles in Senegal. The SOPTOM (Centre for the Observation and Protection of Turtles and their Habitats) is a French association versed in the knowledge on turtles worldwide and in their protection. The SOPTOM funds, right from the beginning, field studies and in collaboration with the “Parcs Nationaux des Eaux et Forêts du Sénégal, the National Parks Department in charge of water and forests management in Senegal and the Senegalese association, SOS Sulcata, the implementaion of the conservation program on the furrowed turtle in the Ferlo.