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No more turtle soup

All pictures by Donna Scherer / fisheyeafrica.com

In 1963 a police patrol along the shores of Maputaland, or the Elephant Coast, just south of the Mozambique border, found remains of a turtle slaughter. Even the most ardent of fishermen at that time had no idea that turtles occurred, let alone nested, there. Among the team dispatched to investigate was a junior ranger named George Hughes. For the next 48 years he continued counting them, in the process becoming one of the world’s leading turtle conservationists as well as CEO of the Natal Parks Board (now Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife).

In his book Between the Tides, Hughes discusses the highs and lows of championing these severely endangered creatures. Once, for example, in 1970, he was invited to attend the Lord Mayor of London’s annual banquet. When he discovered cream of green turtle soup on the menu he managed to have it barred — for just that year, although the tradition has since been discontinued.

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Travel Africa
October-December 16 (76)

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