Naughty turtleFive out of seven species of sea turtles inhabit Mozambique’s waters and use parts of its shoreline as nesting habitat. Loggerhead sea turtles, which can reach up to 1.2m in length are the most common species encountered, greens (1.4m), hawksbills (1.1m) and leatherbacks (2.5m) are also widespread. The fifth species to occur in Mozambique’s waters is the olive ridley sea turtle however its distribution along the coast is unknown as is the status of its population.

Nesting in Southern Mozambique occurs during the summer months, October through to February consisting primarily of loggerheads although a few leatherbacks utilise this area. Further north green and some hawksbills sea turtles use beaches in the Cabo Delagdo and Nampula areas. From south to north Ponta D’ Ouro Partial Marine Reserve, Inhaca Island, Macaneta, São Sebastião Sanctuary, Bazaruto Archipelago National Park and the Primeiras and Segundas Archipelago are all considered areas of national importance to marine turtles.

Marine turtles have been protected in Mozambique since 1981, however poaching is still widespread and goes unpunished. The IUCN Red List rankings show that all the species are under severe threat globally (leatherbacks and hawksbills are critically endangered, green and loggerhead are endangered, and olive ridley are vulnerable to exinction). The turtles in Mozambique also face local threats such as coastal habitat modification, heavy pressures from fisheries (by-catch) and nest raiding as well as targeted hunting for meat or shells by spear fishers.

Research currently underway in various places along the coast includes in-water monitoring using photo-ID and laser photogrammetry, local ecological knowledge interviews with turtle poachers and fishermen, beach patrols to survey for mortality, nest patrols and flipper tagging. Contributing authors can include lead sea turtle scientist and PhD candidate Jess Williams and research assistant Lauren Warnell.

Illegal Beach Driving Incidents in Mozambique

  Driving on the beach, except in designated areas clearly marked for launching, is illegal. This is laid out in Decreto n 45/2006 de 30 de Novembro, Artigo 54. In the north of the country (i.e. North of Beira) you can drive on the beach only if a permit is attained. As a general rule you should keep off. Why? The coastal area is full… Read more »

Leatherback Sea Turtles – The Panda Bears of the Ocean

While walking in the late afternoon down Manhame Beach there was a certain level of excitement that I could feel on the deserted sands. I was with turtle researcher Jess Williams of Marine Megafauna Foundation, and the two owners of Dunes de Dovela. It was past the incubation period for the nest and we were going to look through the recently hatched nest of a… Read more »

An Impromptu Field Necropsy At Manhame Beach

Written by Turtle expert Jess Williams With seven nesting events reported since November- all suspected to be Leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea)- this makes Manhame Beach one of the busiest in the Province! So where is it, you ask? For those not too familiar with the area, it’s ~70/80km south of Tofo Beach and just slightly north of Zavora. I made my first site visit to… Read more »

U.S. Officials Release Sea Turtles in China

18 January 2014 – Sanya, China: With ongoing disputes in the South China Sea, there is one marine issue that the U.S. and China proudly agrees on: saving sea turtles from extinction.  Officials from the United States Consulate General and the Ministry of Agriculture of the People’s Republic of China joined Sea Turtles 911 to release three rehabilitated sea turtles back to the South China… Read more »


The Lucky 93

By Jess Williams Late yesterday afternoon I went to check the location of a loggerhead nest laid on the far end of Tofinho Beach, known more for its surf breaks rather than turtle nests. Expecting to have trouble finding the exact nest location I scanned the approximate area that had been show to me 61 days prior by Jimo, a local Mozambican guarda, who was… Read more »

Spotlight on Research in the Indian Ocean.

WIOMSA The Western Indo-Pacific stretches from Thailand to East Africa and the Red Sea, and has distinct fauna – with a quarter of its fish species thought to be different from the broader Indo-Pacific. The Western Indian Ocean is the largest biogeographic province in this region, but among the least studied of the world’s seas, posing a great challenge to effective conservation of its biodiversity…. Read more »

Species+ Developed by CITES and CMS: Look up your favorite animal!

Source CITES Species+ is a new online resource providing comprehensive information on globally protected species. It includes all species covered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), as well as those included in the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations. Species+ can be accessed at www.speciesplus.net What is Species+?… Read more »

Manta Alfredi


November 6, 2013 · by mozturtles · in Conservation, Mozambique, Sea Turtle. · Yes that’s right its that time of year again, the mangoes are ripening, the humidity is building, the tourists are arriving- But that’s not the point of this post! It’s the nesting turtle time of year. They arrive along the sandy beaches of Southern Mozambique in late October and November. We are lucky enough to have two species… Read more »

Marine Megafauna Foundation: Video

An insight into the world leading scientific research of the Marine Megafauna Foundation, based in Tofo, Mozambique.

World Turtle Day: May 23rd 2013

Convincing local communities, particularly those relying on coastal resources as a source of sustenance, that instead of harvesting or hunting they should conserve sea turtles, is a very difficult task. This is why on May 23rd, 2013, Jess Williams of Marine Megafauna Foundation decided to launch the first World Turtle Day festivities for Tofo Beach, Inhambane. World Turtle Day presents the perfect opportunity to engage the… Read more »