thanks for them !


The green turtle Chelonia mydas is one of the seven critically endangered marine species in the world. Although it is fully protected internationally and listed in CITES (or Washington Convention), poaching is one of the main causes of its rarefaction.

The on-site actions are under the supervision of Dr Mohamed Said Hassani, also a member of the Board of Directors and Scientist of the University of the Comoros and Honorary Consul of Switzerland in the Comoros. 


The project is located in the Comoros Archipelago on the Mozambique Channel (Indian Ocean), more precisely in the north of the island of Grande Comore, near the village of N'droudé and on the turtle islet. Formerly a spawning ground, the green turtles that come to lay eggs in B'droudé have little chance of returning alive at sea; they are often poached before they even have time to bury their eggs in the sand.

However, the situation is not the same everywhere. In some areas, it is now largely protected and its population is tending to increase again (e. g. Hawaii). This is not the case in the Comoros Islands, in the Indian Ocean, where it is a victim of large-scale indigenous poaching, although it is fully protected under Comorian law.

As the green turtle is a migratory species capable of travelling thousands of kilometres per year, drastic large-scale protection measures are urgently needed to prevent the extinction of this emblematic species in the medium term.

In order to remedy this worrying situation as soon as possible, Swiss Cetacean Society and its partners, the Comorian association Ulanga N'gazidja, are working to preserve green turtles.


As the green turtle feeds on aquatic bacterial fungi, it plays a major role in cleaning the water and thus promotes the proliferation of fish in a more "healthy" ecosystem. In this sense, the turtle has a real ecosystem value.


On the other hand, consumers of green turtle meat regularly expose themselves to more or less serious food poisoning, which unfortunately does not encourage them to give it up because ordering a turtle and consuming it during certain events has become a custom and a mark of power widely spread among some local notables.

Traditionally, Comorians did not consume turtles because of a food ban linked to the Muslim religion. In the past, the sea turtle was revered and respected. Inter-island migration, economic conditions and the low cost of turtle meat have gradually changed these eating habits. To such an extent that the green turtle, so called because of the seaweed that gives this greenish hue to its flesh, had practically deserted the beaches of N'droudé and the turtles islet, an ancestral tip site.

Until the ecoguards were set up in 2011, turtles that came to lay eggs on the beaches had almost no chance of leaving alive. They were systematically slaughtered before laying, with consumers claiming that the flesh is better in these conditions


Every time a turtle is slaughtered, poachers leave behind a scene of desolation: eggs are lost for breeding and are not even consumed, fins, neck, guts and muscles rot on the beach.


In addition to this scourge, fishermen's islets, beach erosion, pollution and plastic waste are all dangers that make it difficult for the species to survive, to the point that it is listed on the IUCN Red List as an endangered species.

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Since 2010, the Swiss Cetacean Society - SCS has been supporting the work of the national association Ulanga N'gazidja. In 2011, thanks to external funding, and under the supervision of Dr. Said Hassani, a local team of 4 ecoguards from N'droudé was set up. Favor to these turtle surveillance patrols and the prevention of poaching, a timid return of the species has been observed on the three beaches of the village.

The sustained efforts of the village association of N'droudé and Ulanga N'gazidja with the support of the Swiss NGO have helped to encourage the involvement of other important partners such as UNDP. With the support of the latter, construction projects for the Maison du Tourisme and 4 bungalows for ecotourism have been initiated.

In 2014, the N'droudé area was annexed to the project for the protection of marine protected areas carried out jointly by the Union of Comoros, the GEF and UNDP. This decision is very encouraging because it aims to protect the environment of Grande Comore and its marine ecosystems.

Without wages for ecoguards, beach monitoring would no longer be guaranteed. It is therefore urgent to maintain the motivation of these ecoguards by ensuring that they are paid a salary that allows them to devote themselves fully to protecting turtles and have a decent life for their families.

Although Ulanga N'gazidja has already done a lot of information and awareness-raising work with the local population (fishermen, villagers, authorities, children, media) to protect turtles, there is still a long way to go to raise awareness of the importance of preserving this living species, and its role in the marine ecosystem.


Implementation of ecoguard patrols on the beaches of N'droudé to deter any poaching attempts.  As the average salary is about CHF 100, this pushes people in the local community to work for the protection of green turtles, their nests and offspring.  These ecoguards also collect valuable data on turtles.                                           

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For an amount of 20.- CHF :

Financing of DVDs, aimed at raising awareness on the marine environment, for the village cinema

For an amount of 100.- CHF :

Equivalent to one month's salary for the weekly patrol of an ecoguard.

For an amount of  600.- CHF :

Equivalent to one month's salary for the weekly patrol of an ecoguard.

For an amount of 1'200.- CHF :

Equivalent to 1 year's salary for the weekly patrol of an ecoguard.

  • Ensure that as many small turtles as possible return to the ocean after the outbreak.

  • Stabilize the population of green turtles in the Indian Ocean, which is seriously threatened by marine pollution and poaching.

  • Identify and monitor spawning sites.

  • Sensitize local fishermen to the importance of protecting sea turtles.

  • Guarantee a month's salary and a decent life for an ecoguard and his family.

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