Effective turtle protection – wissenschaft.de

© Richard Baxter

Here a green sea turtle digs a nest for its eggs on the beach. They and their offspring are especially at risk. But targeted preventative measures have helped this endangered species.

In the Aldabra reefs in the Indian Ocean, part of the Seychelles, the long-nesting female green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) has been hunted for its rare meat and shells. But the 1968 turtle hunting ban – the first of its kind in the western Indian Ocean – put an end to that and may have saved the Aldabra turtle population from extinction.

All the best that Adam Pritchard of the University of Exeter in Cornwall and his colleagues can now report that the species living in these marine organisms have managed to recover over the past 50 years. Biologists had monitored the population numbers of the Aldabra Reef by counting clutches of eggs over a number of years. It turned out that in the late 1960s, only 2000-3000 nests were recorded, according to the data of the past few years, their number increased again to 15,000 per year. According to the researchers, the largest increase in clutches was at Settlement Beach on Picard, where the exploitation of female nesting throughout history has been most intense.

“The continued increase in green turtle numbers in the Aldabra demonstrates the long-term conservation efficacy and clearly shows that we can be optimistic about marine conservation,” said lead researcher Brendan Godley from the University of Exeter. And with today’s Aldabra turtle population still well below estimates estimated prior to exploitation, the population could continue to grow in the future – provided the species continues to be effectively protected.

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