According to a national report on turtle conservation just released by Centro Terra Viva, the Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve (PPMR) continues to be a crucial nesting area for both loggerhead and leatherback turtles.
The Marine Reserve has a rich diversity of marine life, including loggerhead and the leatherback turtles. Recent studies have shown that around 77% of the marine turtles monitored in Mozambique nest in the newly proclaimed Marine Reserve. It is thus the most important leatherback and loggerhead turtle nesting ground along the Mozambican coast.
Throughout the season, stretching from October to April, Reserve management and turtle monitors undertake vehicle and foot patrols of the turtle nesting sites, the primary goal being to protect the nesting females and their eggs and also to monitor the number of nesting females.
In the course of these patrols, the monitors also collect data on the turtles, including how many of them have been tagged, the size of the animals (both width and length), whether they were laying eggs or not and, if the animals were not sighted, how many tracks there were. During the hatching stage, the monitors note the number of eggs hatched, the number not hatched and dead hatchlings.
Currently there are about 46 monitors assisting with the marine turtle monitoring. They are divided into groups of three and they walk about 20 km per night collecting data on the turtles. Their presence is considered vital for the protection of the turtles as no turtles have been poached since they started with their patrols.