FOR many people, turtles are just superhero mutant ninjas named after Renaissance artists from a 1990s animated film. But for one woman these reptiles – especially South Africa’s leatherbacks – have become part of a mission to ensure they do not suffer the same fate as the extinct quagga.
Dr Ronel Nel, a senior zoology lecturer at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU),chairs the Western Indian Ocean Marine Turtle Task Force, a working group tasked with identifying sites of importance for turtle conservation in southern Africa.
South Africa’s leatherback population is listed as one of the most endangered in the world, with only 100 females returning to shore to nest every year.
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