Naming of our CCFA Turtle Mascots

Naming of our CCFA Turtle Mascots

CCFA Turtle Mascots

Sea turtles—even at diminished population levels—play an important role in ocean ecosystems by maintaining healthy seagrass beds and coral reefs, providing key habitat for other marine life, helping to balance marine food webs and facilitating nutrient cycling from water to land.

We are as passionate about turtles, as we are about all wildlife, which is why we have designed a turtle mascot to add to our collection of rhino, elephants, bongos and gorillas.

Sea turtles are a fundamental link in marine ecosystems. They help maintain the health of sea grass beds and coral reefs that benefit commercially valuable species such as shrimp, lobster, and tuna. Sea turtles are the live representatives of a group of reptiles that have existed on Earth and travelled our seas for the last 100 million years. Turtles have major cultural significance and tourism value. Five of the seven species are found around the world, mainly in tropical and subtropical waters. The remaining two species though, have relatively restricted ranges: Oliver Ridley is found mainly in the Gulf of Mexico and the flatback turtle around northern Australia and southern Papua New Guinea.

Over the last 200 years, human activities have tipped the scales against the survival of these ancient mariners. They also face habitat destruction and accidental capture—known as bycatch—in fishing gear. Climate change has an impact on turtle nesting sites; it alters sand temperatures, which then affects the sex of hatchlings. Nearly all species of sea turtle are now classified as endangered, with three of the seven existing species being critically endangered.

To honour these beautiful and important creatures, we decided to name our mascots after the fictional Ninja Turtles. We did this because not only are the names fun and quirky but they are well known and loved and all named after important painters, inventors, engineers, sculptors and architects.

 

 

Let’s introduce you to Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michaelangelo – our Ninja collection – as well as Oliver Ridley (who didn’t need a new name because we liked the name it was born with).

Leonardo (nicknamed Leo) is the oldest and most mature of the NinjaTurtles. This tactical,  level-headed, quiet, courageous leader wears a blue mask and wields two swords. He was named after the Italian polymath, painter, engineer, inventor, writer, anatomist and sculptor, Leonardo da Vinci and is the name we have given to the Loggerhead turtle.  

Loggerheads have large heads that support powerful jaw muscles, allowing them to crush hard-shelled prey like clams and sea urchins. They are less likely to be hunted for their meat or shell compared to other sea turtles.  Loggerheads are the most common turtle in the Mediterranean, nesting on beaches from Greece and Turkey to Israel and Libya.

Donatello (Donnie or Don) is a scientist, inventor, engineer and technological genius who wears a purple mask and wields a staff.   He is the least violent turtle, preferring to use his knowledge to solve conflicts but never hesitates to defend his brothers. He is named after the early Renaissance Italian artist and sculptor from Florence, Donatello and represents the Hawksbill turtle, so named for their narrow, pointed beak. They also have a distinctive pattern of overlapping scales on their shells that form a serrated-look on the edges. These coloured and patterned shells make them highly-valuable and commonly sold as ‘tortoiseshell’ in markets.

Hawksbills are found mainly throughout the world’s tropical oceans, predominantly in coral reefs. They feed mainly on sponges by using their narrow pointed beaks to extract them from crevices on the reef, but also eat sea anemones and jellyfish.

Michelangelo (Mikey or Mike) is the stereotypical teenager of the team: Free-spirited, relaxed, goofy, mischievous a jokester known for his love of pizza and kind-hearted nature. Michelangelo wears an orange mask and is named after the Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet and engineer.  He also represents the green turtle – one of the largest sea turtles and the only herbivore among the different species.

Green turtles are in fact named for the greenish colour of their cartilage and fat, not their shells. Like other sea turtles, they migrate long distances between feeding grounds and the beaches from where they hatched. Classified as endangered, green turtles are threatened by overharvesting of their eggs, hunting of adults, being caught in fishing gear and loss of nesting beach sites.

Olive Ridley Turtle – The name for this sea turtle is tied to the colour of its shell -an olive green hue. They are currently the most abundant of all sea turtles. Their vulnerable status comes from the fact that they nest in a very small number of places, and therefore any disturbance to even one nest beach could have huge repercussions on the entire population.

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At CCFA we work with a number of incredible women, from all walks of life, who are making a positive impact on the environment, on wildlife and the communities in which they live.  On this International Day of Rural Women we’d like to highlight the tenacity, resourcefulness and creativity of a group of women sewers who live in the small town of Kylemore in the Western Cape.

Mascots, masks and now cute Christmas stockings

Two delightful stories intertwine as we start the 71 day count down to 25 December.  The first is the tale of the origin of the Christmas stocking.  It is said the Saint Nicholas, in the spirit of Christmas, threw three bags of gold through an open window on Christmas Eve and one landed in a stocking. When the girls and their father woke up the next morning they found the bags of gold and were, of course, overjoyed.

Another feel good story is that of a group of women in the tiny settlement of Kylemore, in the Western Cape who are sewing for us to ensure a sustained income. Through a partnership with Baby Cuddles, they have been designing and producing our animal mascots. Now they have turned their talents to making Christmas stockings in three different sizes. The stockings represent a trilogy of ‘all things good’ in the spirit of Christmas.

Firstly, by ordering our stockings you will not only be assisting the sewing group, who are sole financial providers, but also their immediate and extended families who rely on this income. It also makes it possible for us give others the opportunity to join the team, learn to sew and produce beautiful items made in South Africa.  Secondly, you will be helping CCFA  raise money for the many projects we support, who are desperately in need of funding. And last but not least, that ‘feel good, fuzzy’ feeling of knowing someone is going to delight in receiving this unique stocking on Christmas morning.

It’s not the first time our team of seamstresses has been asked to adapt their products to ensure there is a continued and sustainable income for them and their families.  Initially they made the CCFA mascots  – beautifully handmade toys, each with an individual character and personality, making them an ideal gift.  Besides the original rhino, the range now includes elephants, gorillas, turtles and Bongos. These are sold at all the Mantis lodges and the profits used to support wildlife, environmental and community projects.

Then as the Covid-19 lockdown closed down tourism they turned their talents into making masks, out of Shweshwe cotton and strictly according to the Department of Health guidelines. They also started sewing bags for the hotels in the Mantis Collection when they opened again.  These contain, amongst other items, sanitisers and will be given to each guest upon arrival.

Now they are excited to be part of the stocking project. Melanie Laing of Baby Cuddles, who has partnered with us in the sewing project says, ‘I am blessed to have been given the opportunity to work with a team of very talented, wonderful women who are always happy and full of smiles, no matter what life throws at them.

‘Four of our sewers are working on this particular project and we are delighted to be starting this soon.  We are so grateful to our guardian angels, CCFA for constantly bringing in new ideas, providing sustainable work for our team and using their network to sell our crafts.’

CCFA is making the Christmas stockings to create work for the team and to raise money for various environmental projects.  The more orders received, the more work generated which means these ladies have higher earning potential and will be able to enjoy a Christmas of their own.

The ladies have made samples and tested the response, which has been very positive – so everyone is raring to go and we’re hoping to complete around 60 stockings a day.  We are also able to be flexible with the design and customize the stockings for corporates and include a company logo.

Orders are via our website and the stockings will be shipped directly from the group of sewers to the client.  We are appealing to corporates to support this initiative. To be a ‘secret Santa’ and to help stimulate employment and financial independence for this group of women and their families, while also contributing towards the work being undertaken by the CCFA.

With only 71 days until Christmas, order your Christmas stockings now, not only will you be helping keep the women of Kylemore employed but also helping raise money for the CCFA projects.

To order online go to https://www.ccfa.africa or email info@ccfa.africa.

Large stocking, around 50cm long

R200

Medium stocking, around 45cm long

R150

Christmas tree decoration size, around 13cm long

R20

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