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Sea turtles are back to Réunion Island

Sea turtles are back to Réunion island

MP Labo is committed to preserving the environment through strong actions. 

On September 30th, UNIVET Nature organized the evening of hope for wild animals. On this occasion, we got involved with them by supporting the fund for Nature and more particularly the project to save Reunion’s sea turtles led by the Centre d’Etude et de Découverte des Tortues Marines (CEDTM)

Sea turtle at the Kelonia center

Our commitment to the protection of nature and animals is also a question of meeting passionate people. Stéphane Ciccione is one of them, he is the treasurer of CEDTM and the Director of Kelonia, the care and awareness center for sea turtles in Réunion.

The basins of the Kelonia sea turtle care center


Our meeting with the CEDTM

During a meeting on December 29th, he shared with us the challenge and the meaning of his action with the CEDTM to promote the return of egg-laying sea ​​turtles on the beaches of Réunion.

We know that before the arrival of humans, Reunion Island was an important nesting site for sea turtles, but in the 20th century, this phenomenon became rare to the point that no laying was ever  observed on the island for several decades. Caring about these issues, the CEDTM and Kélonia started a program in 1999 to rehabilitate the nesting beaches through several actions:

  • replant native and endemic plant species based on the theory of “olfactory pen”: odors broadcast by certain terrestrial plants allow the turtles to orient themselves and to find the beaches favorable to the laying. These plants, such as the veloutier (“Heliotropium foertherianum”), have been cultivated and replanted on selected beaches. In 2004, 5 years after the initiation of the project, Stéphane Ciccione had the immense joy of witnessing once again the laying of a sea turtle on one of the rehabilitated beaches.

Culture of veloutier plants before re-establishment on beaches


  • Create a positive environment for laying and hatching by limiting erosion and light pollution. Turtles need a quiet place to lay eggs so that when they hatch, their offspring move towards the brightest horizon. In the wild, the moon’s reflection on the ocean plays this role. But nowadays, light pollution near beaches can confuse baby turtles. The installation of plant barriers or the reduction of the frequency and intensity of public lighting on the coast are concrete actions carried out by the association.


Today the satisfaction is great. 

Since the start of the program, more than 30 layings have taken place on two beaches in Réunion. As always, it is the passionate and enthusiastic commitment of individuals motivated by the preservation of our environment that allows to obtain such results. We are proud and happy to support such concrete projects in favor of biodiversity by rehabilitating weakened ecosystems.

Stéphane Ciccione on the beach of Kélonia rehabilitated with veloutiers: the beach of Kélonia saw the laying of a sea turtle in 2004, 5 years after the start of the project and after several decades of absence of sea turtles on the island.


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