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Supporting marine turtle conservation since 1969
WWF has supported marine turtle conservation in the Africa and Madagascar region since 1969 when it supported extensive surveys in the southwest Atlantic - the results of which were used to recommend new protected areas.
Establishment of 7500 km2 Quirimbas National Park helps protect one of the richest areas of coral reefs, mangroves, coastal forest and woodland, turtles, dugongs and elephants. This is an important step towards the creation of an ecologically-representative network of MPAs in Mozambique © WWF / Lyn TRELOAR

Around the same time, WWF South Africa also became involved in the flagship programme to conserve the loggerhead and leatherback nesting beaches of Kwa Zulu Natal, a programme which has now run for over 30 years and yielded invaluable information on population dynamics and turtle's lifecycles and migrations.

The need for a comprehensive programme

Other activities to date have been mainly field based and include activities in Madagascar, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, and Gabon. Experience has been gained in a wide range of transferable approaches including partnerships with local communities, the private sector, and higher education institutions.

In light of the common threats to marine turtle populations, it was considered appropriate to develop a regional strategy for marine turtle conservation which also responds to regional and ecoregional conservation needs. This led to the establishment of the Africa and Madagascar Marine Turtle Programme (AMTP) in May 2002.