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Naijatreks | Kill another African Softshell Turtle and you’ve killed another Niger Delta pikin!!!

Kill another African Softshell Turtle and you’ve killed another Niger Delta pikin!!!

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African Softshell Turtle-
“Still, laid the lifeless carcass of a beautiful turtle upon the cold floors of a wooden batcher in Elem-Sangama village, Soku, in the Niger Delta.
It was in the harsh claws of a fisherman’s net that it was caught, conquered and dragged ashore by a rustic dug-out boat hewn from the sempervirent mangrove forests cloaking the delta….

We found the picture above on the mobile phone of an inhabitant of Elem-Sangama community, Soku, in Rivers State, Nigeria. It illustrates one of the great dangers and threats bedevilling the Niger Delta ecosystem.

This highly endangered species, called the African softshell turtle is gradually being faced out of the Niger Delta ecosystem due to the increasing predatory rates confronting their population in the region.

Over the years, several turtle species which endow our Niger Delta creeks have been constantly exposed to both intentional and accidental predation from the locals. The turtle in the picture was reported to have been accidentally caught by the fishing net of one of the local fishermen.

African Softshell Turtle-

As this is yet another endangered tourism potential in Nigeria, it is therefore another challenge the Nigerian government must wake up to if it intends to create viable alternative sources of revenue it has always promised her citizens.

And who shall help us salvage what is left of these amazing endowments: a foreigner clothed in the garments of Mary Slessor or the poor Niger Delta pikin who’s belly is his one and only ‘development project’?

African Softshell Turtle-

– The African softshell turtle (Trionyx triunguis), or Nile softshell turtle, is a large species of turtle from fresh water and brackish habitats in Africa. It is the only extant species from the genus Trionyx; and despite the name African softshell turtle, it is not the only species or genus of softshell turtles in Africa (Wikkipedia).

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This article was written by Folarin Kolawole

Founder of Naijatreks, Nigerian-born Folarin Kolawole is a geologist, travel writer and researcher. When not at work, he travels the length and breadth of Nigeria, exploring, taking photos and writing about her numerous hidden tourist potentials.   'Naijatreks' is a product name registered under the Ntreks brand, which is also duly registered by Nigeria's Federal Corporate Affairs Commission. The contents on this blog are re-usable. However, it must be ensured that it is linked back to this blog, and correctly attributed to Naijatreks or the author. Please do not edit, rewrite or commercialize the original works on this blog without direct and written permission from the Founder (Folarin Kolawole). For inquiries and advert placement on the blog, kindly contact us at or' ChiakaSeptember 4, 2012 at 10:18 amReply

maybe we can relocate some of these turtles to the Lekki conservation centre in Lagos

NaijatreksSeptember 4, 2012 at 10:35 amReply

@Chiaka…thanks for the advise…but come to think of it, will removing these animals from their natural habitat be the best thing to do? I think it’s best that the locals get educated on the importance of conservation and protection of ecosystems…and at the same thing, we must understand that the average Naija man cares more for his belly than to spare a fat turtle playing in his backyard.' LMSeptember 4, 2012 at 2:51 pmReply

Okay so first, I have always wondered what the underbelly of a turtle looks like but never got to searching for the picture online. So thanks Nt for finally giving me the opportunity however “eww-cious” it looks.

As much as I am inclined to support Chiaka’s point, I also think relocating the turtle to a conservation centre would not solve the inherent disregard we have for endangered species.

It is sad, but we do need am overhaul of our attitude and mindset to this topic and many more issues.

NaijatreksSeptember 4, 2012 at 3:49 pmReply

@LM…great comment…thanks, you’ve hit the nail on the head! and yeah that’s what the underbelly of a turtle looks like loll.

Myne WhitmanSeptember 4, 2012 at 3:11 pmReply

A conservation center with training and education opportunities may be a better option.

NaijatreksSeptember 4, 2012 at 3:51 pmReply

@Myne Whitman…you are absolutely right too…we need more conservation centers in Nigeria, and especially those that will take the ‘good news’ of conservation awareness to the grassroots. Thanks for visiting :)' P.ClickNovember 20, 2012 at 7:50 amReply

More awareness is needed on Conservation of endangered species in communities where such are found…especially by the Conservation institute and also local authorities. 

NaijatreksNovember 20, 2012 at 8:26 pmReply

@Pclick…yes, your opinion is on point…the Niger Delta is an amazing but dying ecosystem that needs urgent rescue

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