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The furrowed Turtle, Senegal

financed on the 15.10.2013

Project data

Reserve du Ferlo
Regeneration
Parc National du Banc d'Arguin
12.03.2015

1903 €

of 1900 € Target Amount
100%

Summary

The Ferlo, in the North-east of Senegal, is the region where the furrowed turtle (Centrochelys sulcata) can still be found in its savage state. The turtle plays an important ecological role in this difficult and harsh region: for example, it digs huge holes to seek shade, coolness and humidity in order to withstand the scorching heat (of up to 48°C under the shade) and to compensate for water shortage during 6 to 8 months of dry season. All the other wildlife, from the butterfly to the jackal then uses these abandoned holes as cover during the hottest periods of the day.

The furrowed turtle is also responsible for the dispersal of many grains. As a very opportunistic herbivore, it eats many varieties of vegetables and rejects, through its faeces, undigested grains which then grow close to the main plant. But the furrowed turtle is under threat. Its populations are limited and vastly spaced out one from the other thereby eliminating the opportunity of meeting and reproducing the specie. In addition, constant negative impact of human activities on the Sahel worsens the fragile situation of these turtles: desertification, overgrazing, destruction of its habitat and gathering for the illegal sale of exotic animals.

Our champions, thus, decided to act. Since 2006 and through the SOS Sulcata program, they have carried out the breeding and rearing of 24 turtles in a breeding and awareness-promotion centre near Dakar - the Noflaye Turtles Village. The turtles were then released into the natural habitat of the Ferlo. After 6 years of wild life in the Sahel, 80% of the released population is still alive and shows the same habits as the wild ones!
A second group was reintroduced into the same site in June 2011 in order to complete the first group. Twelve (12) newcomers thus discovered the difficulties of wild life. The same strict scientific procedure was used as in 2006: selection and quarantining during several months in Noflaye Turtles Village, genetic and sanitary tests, feeding, strictly controlled supply of water and visits to prepare these turtles for the “adventure”. These 12 turtles were each equipped with a transmitter just like the first group. Regular monitoring can thus be carried out while the team checks on the proper adaptation of each turtle.

To make this monitoring possible, a team of 2 or 3 persons must daily cover the Senegalese forest to observe the habits and the general wellbeing of each released animal. It is also the occasion for observing the animals’ environment daily while monitoring the first group reintroduced in 2006. It is during these daily monitorings that the first baby turtles from the first reintroduced group were discovered. This excellent news once again confirms the interest of the action regarding the conservation strategy of the furrowed turtle.

The expected impacts from this project are multiple. Firstly, it helps to quickly solve the problem of the alarming decrease in the savage populations of turtles in this region of the Sahel through the bolstering of its population. The discovery of several baby turtles is a concrete result that is very promising. Secondly, it helps in raising awareness amongst the local populace on the importance of biodiversity conservation. Indeed, the field team works and lives with the local population that is becoming increasingly involved in this project.
The reintroduction and monitoring of turtles’ project in the Ferlo combined to the “Nature Geniuses competition” and the “Nature outing” will help in preventing the total disappearance of this specie in Senegal.


Lamine Diagne is the local champion that helps turtles regain their wild life. Without this turtle lover, nothing would have been possible. As the person in charge of animals in the Turtles village, he monitors, daily, all his protégées while making sure that the team and the project are properly managed.

Concretely, he ensures that the daily operations of the Turtles village and checks on the health and well-being of the kept turtles are carried out properly. Creating awareness amongst the Senegalese people and negotiating with the authorities are equally part of his functions. Feeding and medical stock management, treatment, meeting with the public and with the children of the village are all part of his usual tasks. On the reintroduction site in the Ferlo, he is a very important negotiator since he serves as intermediary for each party. He is henceforth known in Ranérou for his knowledge on turtles and for his communicative enthusiasm. He is also the intermediary between the Noflaye Turtles village, (about 30km from Dakar), and the reintroduction site in the Ferlo which is about 600km to the North-east of Dakar.

How will your donation help the project?

Your donation will help us renovate “The residence of friends of turtles”. This residence which was built in 2005 is about 1 hour’s ride by road to the reintroduction site and was meant to be a meeting place for the local populace and an awareness centre on the environment.
It is also the living area and supply point for the project’s field team (a French volunteer and a local forest patroller who is the sole employee of the project). Your donation will help us to get electricity connection for recharging electrical equipment and to purchase a laptop for managing data. Your donation will help the project team to live decently and to get basic work equipment.

Ecopartner for The furrowed Turtle

Parc National du Banc d'Arguin

www.pnba.mr
Yelli Diawara is ornithologist in the PNBA. In this capacity, as well as being the President of “Nature Mauritania”, he has supported this initiative from the beginning. «To resist climatic changes is possible! The maintenance of the island of Nair is important for protecting the biodiversity of the PNBA. Different kinds of Afro-tropical species nest on the island which is also sought in winter by the European Spoonbills. If the island disappears, these latter will no longer be able to join their African cousins ». Yasmina Messaci is project manager at the International Foundation for the Banc d’Arguin (la FIBA). She is also an active member of the Association of Friends of the Banc d’Arguin (AABA). “Saving the Naïr Island from erosion et from the flooding by the sea is one of the main objectives of the AABA in collaboration with FIBA, the PNBA and the Mauritanian Association “Nature Mauritanie”. We put all our efforts to preserve that island and so to preserve a reproduction site of Spoonbill of the Banc d’Arguin.

Updates

12.03.2015 › News from Ecoprojects

The Katané enclosure’s pond has dried up since mid-January. In preparation for the dry season, the turtles have reduced their mobility.

In January and February, Abou embarked on a tour to the Ferlo with the SOPTOM team and local authorities (National Parks, Water and Forestry departments) searching for wild turtles seen in the early 2000s during the first reintroduction programm. Many burrows were found with the villagers’ help. Some have been abandoned, while others showed recent activity traces. This encouraging news suggests that some of these turtles have been there for 15 years!

We must continue working to preserve the remaining Sulcata turtles in the area, while raising awareness among local communities.

20.09.2014 › News from "The furrowed Turtle" project

The rain falls have been regular. The usually dry Ferlo landscape has been transformed in a green herbaceous carpet. Furthermore, all the pond basins of the Ferlo are filled with water allowing each turtle to access water and food next to its hole.

Abou had the chance to discover two distinct baby turtles on two following days. They are 3 to 4 years old. These two baby turtles confirm our successful reintroduction of the turtles to the wild life, which we supposed when a month ago we discovered turtles’ eggs. Moreover, the two baby turtles demonstrate their capability to survive in the difficult environment of the Ferlo with numerous predators (jackals, mongoose, birds, etc.).

07.09.2014 › News from "The furrowed Turtle" project

While we all benefited from a well-deserved vacation, our champions continued their field work. Abdou and the team of "The furrowed Turtle" project monitored the size and weight of the Sulcata Turtles at the beginning of the rainy season. The first rains have filled again with water the dry pond basins of the Ferlo. The Sulcata turtles enjoy the bath in the basins and make their drinking water provisions. The first grass in the dry region of the Ferlo is not only a feast for the eyes but a banquet for the turtles after 6 months of fasting.

We were very happy to discover turtles’ eggs, which is not only an indicator of their successful reintroduction to the wild life but a big encouragement for our conservation strategy of the furrowed turtle in the Ferlo. It’s important to recall, that the furrowed turtle is under threat, while playing an important ecological role in the Ferlo, in the North-east of Senegal. Congratulations to the project team for the passionate work and the results achieved in the protection of our biodiversity!

25.03.2014 › Financial project report The Furrowed Turtles

Dear Ecofund Community, please find below the accounts of donations to the project "The Furrowed Turtle" and its expenditures.

Thanks to your donations, the project team has been able to procure the necessary equipement for the monitoring of turtles, solar lamps, trunks, camera, notebook, solar charger, and GPS.

Many THANKS to all contributors!!!

P.S.: The balance of 269 euros will be transfered to the project "Turtle Game", which our champions have already prepared. Stay tuned to our Ecoblog ...

06.02.2014 › Photo news from the Ferlo turtles

News from turtles monitoring thanks to new equipment (photo, notebook, solar charger etc.) financed by the Ecofund community.

20.12.2013 › A new champion

This month there is a change in the program, Anneline Grenouilloux, volunteering scientist who assisted our champion Abu for almost 2 years will soon go back home. Now Abu can count on Anne Emanuelle Landes, French volunteering scientist, for the next two years to continue the program.

15.12.2013 › The season of love has begun.

Otherwise peaceful, during the time of reproduction the rivalries emerge now between the males engaging in violent combats with two results: either one of the males flee or it ends up on its back.

Our intervention within this time is very scarce but vital. We turn systematically all the males around that find themselves on their backs. This position could be fatale to them: The shell of the male is flatter than the females and turning around by them is sometimes a challenge. Their lungs are squeezed and they can die of asphyxiation or dehydration (as the turtles find themselves exposed to the strong heat during the daytime).

 

12.12.2013 › Next generation

Our team had the pleasure to again find new babies! It’s a proof that the reintroduced turtles have perfectly adapted to their new home and natural habitat.

12.12.2013 › Project update2013-12-12

Our team had the pleasure to again find new babies! It’s a proof that the reintroduced turtles have perfectly adapted to their new home and natural habitat.

12.12.2013 › Project update2013-12-12

This month there is a change in the program, Anneline Grenouilloux, volunteering scientist who assisted our champion Abu for almost 2 years will soon go back home. Now Abu can count on Anne Emanuelle Landes, French volunteering scientist, for the next two years to continue the program.

09.12.2013 › New beginnings in Ferlo

The tracking of the furrowed turtle continues… 

With the rain returning in September the turtles and the other animals of the Ferlo take advantage of the new sprouts.

They prepare themselves for the dry season; eating is one of their main activities. The fat reserves they take on during the rainy season have a vital importance during the dry season. Little by little, the sulcata turtle will be reducing  its activities until February and then remain underground in its burrow waiting for the next rainy season. She doesn’t eat or drink for about 6 month.

05.12.2013 › Project update2013-12-05

The tracking of the furrowed turtle continues…
With the rain returning in September the turtles and the other animals of the Ferlo take advantage of the new sprouts.
They prepare themselves for the dry season; eating is one of their main activities. The fat reserves they take on during the rainy season have a vital importance during the dry season. Little by little, the sulcata turtle will be reducing  its activities until February and then remain underground in its burrow waiting for the next rainy season. She doesn’t eat or drink for about 6 month.

27.10.2013 › Project update2013-10-27

Thanks to the ONOMO Airport Hotel in Dakar and 4 individual donors from Senegal and Germany, the SOS Sulcata-Team is now able to purchase basic work equipment. The equipment will be used for daily observation of the habits and to monitor the general wellbeing of the turtles, which were reintroduced to their natural habitat of the Ferlo. We will purchase a laptop for data analysis and store, solar lamps and solar recharging electrical equipment. The reintroduction and the monitoring of turtles in the Ferlo combined with the nature excursions will help to prevent the total disappearance of the Sulcata turtle in Senegal. Once again a big THANK YOU to ONOMO Airport Hotel, its guests and to the individual donors from Germany and Senegal! Our future is green!

18.10.2013 › Good News for the furrowed turtle (sulcata) in Senegal!

Thanks to the ONOMO Airport Hotel in Dakar and 4 individual donors from Senegal and Germany, the SOS Sulcata-Team is now able to purchase basic work equipment. The equipment will be used for daily observation of the habits and to monitor the general wellbeing of the turtles, which were reintroduced to their natural habitat of the Ferlo.

Furthermore, the donation will finance nature excursions for Ranérou’s school children to the Ferlo natural reserve and so help create awareness among the young generation about the protection of the biodiversity. 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 acquired.

The reintroduction and the monitoring of turtles in the Ferlo combined with the nature excursions will help to prevent the total disappearance of the Sulcata turtle in Senegal.

Once again a big THANK YOU to ONOMO Airport Hotel, its guests and to the individual donors from Germany and Senegal!

Our future is green!

27.03.2013 › Newsletter (in French) of the Ferlo Turtles

In this second edition of the turtles’ newsletter (in French), you will find updates on the SOS Sulcata program as well as articles written by pupils of the Ranérou school on the environmental issues related to the Ferlo natural reserve.

Click on the picture. Enjoy reading and improve your French!

20.03.2013 › News from Katané

We have encountered the Commandant Gomis and his Team as well as Anneline. After the end of the week and of his and Abdou’s company, we can report on the excellent work they are doing in Ferlo on every single angle.

During my third stay over there I found that the Basecamp of Ranerou resists well against weathering and you can tell that there are improvements done every year. We have mostly seen some turtles in their den (not many discovered) and then after having searched by car, we were able to find another Turtle of those last released.
We could see some changes in Katane; with the arrival of a new teacher one class was completely rehabilitated, and a new health centre 200m was built. We also had time to visit the new extension area of the natural reserve, now 1.200ha. shouldn’t be too big for the Oryx, antelopes and Turtles. We will hopefully be able to see how their number will increase through a natural way.
Regarding the turtles from Madia and their possible reintroduction in Noflaye, after a discussion with Anneline, we have decided to drop it until a further visit and until we have received a feedback on their status. The Quarantine area at the turtle village, which should have been used by them is at the moment occupied by other turtles hat have been received last October.

20.03.2013 › Project update2013-03-20

We have encountered the Commandant Gomis and his Team as well as Anneline. After the end of the week and of his and Abdou’s company, we can report on the excellent work they are doing in Ferlo on every single angle.

During my third stay over there I found that the Basecamp of Ranerou resists well against weathering and you can tell that there are improvements done every year. We have mostly seen some turtles in their den (not many discovered) and then after having searched by car, we were able to find another Turtle of those last released.
We could see some changes in Katane; with the arrival of a new teacher one class was completely rehabilitated, and a new health centre 200m was built. We also had time to visit the new extension area of the natural reserve, now 1.200ha. shouldn’t be too big for the Oryx, antelopes and Turtles. We will hopefully be able to see how their number will increase through a natural way.
Regarding the turtles from Madia and their possible reintroduction in Noflaye, after a discussion with Anneline, we have decided to drop it until a further visit and until we have received a feedback on their status. The Quarantine area at the turtle village, which should have been used by them is at the moment occupied by other turtles hat have been received last October.

01.03.2013 › SOS Sulcata

The Ferlo, in the North-east of Senegal, is the region where the furrowed turtle (Centrochelys sulcata) can still be found in its savage state. The turtle plays an important ecological role in this difficult and harsh region: for example, it digs huge holes to seek shade, coolness and humidity in order to withstand the scorching heat (of up to 48°C under the shade) and to compensate for water shortage during 6 to 8 months of dry season. All the other wildlife, from the butterfly to the jackal then uses these abandoned holes as cover during the hottest periods of the day.

The furrowed turtle is also responsible for the dispersal of many grains. As a very opportunistic herbivore, it eats many varieties of vegetables and rejects, through its faeces, undigested grains which then grow close to the main plant.

But the furrowed turtle is under threat. Its populations are limited and vastly spaced out one from the other thereby eliminating the opportunity of meeting and reproducing the specie. In addition, constant negative impact of human activities on the Sahel worsens the fragile situation of these turtles: desertification, overgrazing, destruction of its habitat and gathering for the illegal sale of exotic animals.

Our three new champions aim to preserve the Senegalese furrowed turtle through scientific reintroduction program but also through school excursions to their natural habitat.

Help Lamine, Beidi and Henri to maintain the Sahel’s biodiversity!

Project data

Reserve du Ferlo
Regeneration
Parc National du Banc d'Arguin
12.03.2015

1903 €

of 1900 € Target Amount
100%