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Côte d'Ivoire/Ivory Coast creates first MPA to protect mangroves, reefs & sea turtle nesting area

Ivory Coast created its first-ever marine protected area off the coast of the tiny western town of Grand-Bereby, an area that includes mangroves and reefs and is considered a globally important nesting ground for sea turtles.

The decision is a key step toward the protection of more than 20 species of sharks and rays, including hammerhead sharks and manta rays, as well as leatherback and olive ridley turtles, the University of Exeter, one of the organizations that supported the designation, said in a statement Monday. The marine protected area comprises 1,000 square miles.

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