SEA TURTLE POACHING

  • According to a new study, more than 1.1 million sea turtles have been illegally killed and, in some cases, trafficked from 1990 to 2020.
  • The sea turtle species that faced the most exploitation in the 30-year-period were Green (56%) and Hawksbill Sea Turtles (39%).

Key Highlights of the Study

  • There has been a decline of 28% in the poaching of marine creatures, with over 44,000 turtles targeted annually over the last decade.
  • The reptiles faced exploitation in 65 countries/territories and 44 marine turtle regional management units (RMU) in the world despite various protection laws.
  • Southeast Asia and Madagascar were major hotspots for illegal sea turtle trade, particularly for the critically endangered Hawksbills.
  • Vietnam was the most common country of origin for illegal sea turtle trafficking, while China and Japan served as destinations for nearly all trafficked sea turtle products.
  • They are slaughtered for their eggs, meat, skin, and shell and they also face habitat destruction and accidental capture or bycatch in fishing gear.
  • The Climate change has an impact on turtle nesting sites — it alters sand temperatures, which affects the sex of hatchlings.
  • Because incubation temperature of turtle eggs determines the animal’s sex, a warmer nest results in more females. Increasing temperatures in Queensland’s north, (Australia), linked to climate change, have led to virtually no male Green Sea turtles being born.

Initiatives:

  1. Global: In 2017, residents in eastern Indonesia’s Maluku Province harvested up to 75% of leatherback turtle eggs laid on one turtle nesting beach.
  2. Education and community outreach done by organisations like the non-governmental organisation World Wide Fund has helped in reducing turtle egg harvesting by 10%.
  3. Indian: There are plans to tag 30,000 Olive Ridley turtles in Odisha, it will help scientists study them and draft conservation plans.

SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT

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