Watamu Local ocean trust


Kenya was a surprise for me, when I did my research before beginning the journey I didn’t plan on seeing mountains or sea. My plans changed and I found the beautiful coast of this country. I hadn’t had a break since I started from Cairo so I was looking for a place to spend a few days and rest. I found it in Watamu in Kenya.

In Watamu, I had the opportunity to participate in two different programs; one was in Watamu Local Ocean Trust and the other in Bio-ken snake farm.

Let's start with the Local Ocean Trust. LOT is a non-profit organization that is committed to protect the marine environment in Kenya by upgrading the quality of life of the local community, through practical biodiversity conservation, education, research and campaigns.



The organizations aim is to conserve specific maritime regions and ecosystems and protect endangered species, particularly marine turtles. The LOT also promotes sustainable management of marine resources for future generations through education and various campaigns in Kenya.




During my participation in LOT we had various daily activities that kept us busy. The LOT mainly operates in the areas of Watamu and Malindi covering a wide area. One of the main activities was the protection of sea turtles. This was done with day and night patrols monitoring the coast to ensure that the nesting sites are suitable for sea turtles.



My next activity as a volunteer and one of my favorite was the release of sea turtles. This program aims to release sea turtles that are caught in fishermen's nets. The LOT in cooperation with the local fishermen has release 13800 turtles back into the ocean since the program began. With this program we were able to collect data for each turtle and keep a track on the number and health of the local sea turtles. This was the program I enjoyed the most because I had the opportunity to learn how to recognize different kind of turtles, also I had the chance to actually touch them myself and do a quick biopsy. In the end we were seating and watching them go back into the ocean.





A moment I will never forget is one specific afternoon. We were informed that a turtle was caught in fish nets, so we had to go bring the turtle back, take whatever necessary measurements are needed and release her back into the ocean. It was a loggerhead turtle / Caretta Caretta like the ones we have in Greece. She was 105 kilos and had a wound in her neck from a hook, not too serious. When we arrived at the reception point it was impossible for us to maneuver this beast, it took five people to lift and put her in the van. In the van me and Damien struggled to keep her calm, she was clearly stronger than us. Finally it was time to set her free, it was already dark by then. We got her out of the van and watched her go towards the ocean in the moonlight.







      LOT also has the only sea turtle rehabilitation center in Eastern Africa. In the center there are 10 tanks to  accommodate the injured and sick turtles. From when the rehabilitation center started they have treated  more than 390 sea turtles, most are from Bycatch-release program.








The LOT also cooperates with many schools. I had the opportunity to attend and help present and inform students about the marine life and the environment. What they teach the students is about the viability of mangroves trees, the coral ecosystems and how to protect sea turtles and recycle.



My activities as a volunteer won’t stop here. The turtle in many countries is another victim of unaccountable poaching that happens all over the world, sometimes for reasons of survival. Specifically the Green turtles are a good source of food, and in order to make money from them they use their shells as souvenirs.





With the patrols we did on the beach, we tried to record any suspic ious activity and to collect the remaining pieces of the dead turtles (such as bones and pieces of their shell) in order to record the mortality of these animals from poaching or other causes.






Finally we had to deal with the care of the mangrove trees. The mangrove trees are a very important part of the ecosystem. Mangroves are also habitat for many fish, crabs, shrimps and shellfish; they also provide shelter for them among their roots. The mangroves forests are also a safe place for the reproduction and development of various fish species including coral fish.



In the LOT it has been also created a mangrove nursery . Mangroves play an important role in creating habitats for a diverse comminity of organisms ranging from bacteria and fungi to fishes and mammals. they grow in intertidal flats, estuaries and offshore islands. A nursery would mean a sustainable source of livehood for coastal communities to restore the damaged habitat due to natural causes or from people who rely on these trees for construction. 



For those who are interested in learning about the organization you will find more information at the following websites:


And Facebook:


 Bio-Ken Snake Farm

As long as I was in Watamu I stayed in the house of a friend who was in charge at a reptile farm, where the majority was snakes. His house was exactly next to the reptile farm, so my neighbors were a few of the most dangerous snakes on the planet. The Bio-Ken Snake Farm is a research center housing fascinating reptiles mainly dealing with snakes and snake bites. It houses the biggest collection of snakes in East Africa and is open to visitors.




There are about 127 different snake species in Kenya. Of these only 18 have caused human fatalities and only another 6 could kill you. Another 10 could cause you a lot of pain and the remaining 93 or so, are neither non-venomous nor dangerous.



As long as I stayed there I had some responsibility because I did not have the necessary experience to handle these animals, so most of the time I was a spectator in routine work that took place daily and other activities such as releasing them back to nature.


For more information visit our website: http://bio-ken.com/



Bio-Ken Snake Farm is a research centre housing fascinating reptiles and dealing mostly with snakes and snakebites. It houses the largest collection of snakes in East Africa and is open to visitors. 

Snakes are a vital part of our eco-system helping to keep vermin under control and reducing disease and crop destruction.

Some snake species have become threatened due to land clearing for agriculture, urban development and through the introduction of animals such as domestic pets and the cane toad. Maintaining a high level of biodiversity is important to all life on Earth, including humans, and snakes are an important part of that biodiversity.


That's all folks, I hope you enjoyed!! Stay tuned for my next project!!




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