Johnson A. Ogunjobi, Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Environmental Management, Ondo State University of Science and Technology (Okitipupa, Ondo State, Nigeria); e-mail:,
Olubunmi C. Surulere, Department of Biological Sciences, Ondo State University of Science and Technology (Okitipupa, Ondo State, Nigeria).

Reference to article

Ogunjobi J.A., Surulere O.C. 2020. Sea turtles in Ilaje, Nigeria: status, sighting periods and conservation awareness. Nature Conservation Research 5(2): 28–35.

Section Research articles

Local understanding of migratory species is critical towards the global conservation agenda. The present study, conducted from 2016–2018, aimed to (i) examine the demographic characteristics of fishers operating within Ilaje axis in the Atlantic Ocean; (ii) determine species and status of sea turtles in the area; (iii) investigate their sighting periods; (iv) evaluate fishers' behaviour towards sea turtles; (v) assess fishers' sea turtles' conservation awareness; (vi) determine the roles of demographic factors on the fishers' level of sea turtles utilisation and conservation. A multi-stage sampling procedure was employed to select the study sites and respondents. The sample size consisted of 364 fishers from six communities. Data were collected using personal interviews, a structured questionnaire and direct observation. During each interview, photographs of six sea turtles reportedly found in Nigeria were presented for easy identification. Data collected were analysed using descriptive statistics, Pearson's correlation and multiple linear regressions. The results revealed that all fishers hunting along the Atlantic Ocean from Ilaje axis are male. The majority of them (97.2%) are within the active age of 21–60 years old with over two-third of them educated (81.0%). Two species of sea turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea, Dermochelys coriacea) are foraging in the area, although L. olivacea was mostly encountered. These sea turtles migrate into the area from April and vacate around October in each year. During this period, some L. olivacea individuals were accidentally trapped inside nets set for hunting crustaceans especially Malacostraca: Decapoda. About 92.3% of the accidental captured sea turtles had a good physical appearance with a body condition index of 1.77 ± 0.09 and 1.36 ± 0.04 in male and female, respectively. Accidentally captured sea turtles are consumed as meat indiscriminately. The predictors of sea turtles utilisation were fishers' age (β = 0.15, p < 0.05) and family size (β = -0.02, p < 0.05) while the fishers' educational level is the predictor of sea turtles' conservation (β = 0.02, p < 0.05). Also, the study showed that there were positive and significant relationships between fishers' personal factors and their rationale for capturing sea turtles (r = 0.23, p < 0.01) and sea turtle's conservation awareness (r = 0.22, p < 0.01). A low knowledge regarding sea turtles' conservation status and its non-consumptive benefits are suggested responsible for high indiscriminate consumption and little participation in its conservation. Urgent sea turtles' conservation awareness in the study area is hereby recommended.


aquatic animal, fishers' behaviour, migratory species, Ondo State, sea turtles' conservation

Artice information

Received: 12.05.2019. Revised: 26.12.2019. Accepted: 28.12.2019.

The full text of the article

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