Turtle season is officially underway in Mozambique and local animal protection groups are making their usual call for people to help guarantee optimum conditions for nesting and hatching.

On 7 November Dolphin Care-Africa, a non-profit organisation that works to conserve marine animals in southern Mozambique, organised a clean-up along the coast to ensure easy passage for nesting females.

The organisation has also warned of the negative impact of uncontrolled tourist development along the coast particularly in southern Mozambique, where the beaches are ideal nesting habitats for the loggerhead and leatherback marine turtles. One of the main problems concerns artificial lighting, which can deter females from leaving the water to nest and lay eggs as well as disorienting them and the hatchlings when they eventually leave the nest, drawing them inland rather than back into the sea. Dolphin Care urges people living along the coast to turn off lights that are not in use, draw curtains or blinds to cover windows that are visible from the beach after dark; refrain from using torches or lighting fires on the beach after dark; and plant native dune vegetation close to the beach.

Turtle nesting season runs until late March.

For more information or to report incidents of poaching contact the marine turtle freephone number 082 0887853 or sara@dolphincare.org, +258 (0)84 234 9011.