HONOLULU, HI — This week in Global Ecology and Biogeography, encouraging news has emerged for one of the world's largest marine herbivores, the green turtle (Chelonia mydas). A new study shows that long-term protection of the sea turtles' nesting beaches is successful in achieving increases in the green turtle populations.
The authors of the article, who research green turtles in Australia, Costa Rica, Japan, and the United States, analyzed nesting data from six of the world's major green turtle rookeries for which there are reliable long-term data of 25 years or more. The analysis shows that green turtle nesting on four beaches in the Pacific (Ogasawara, Japan; French Frigate Shoal, Hawaii, U.S.A.; and Heron and Raine Islands, Australia) and two beaches in the Atlantic (Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, Florida, U.S.A.; and Tortuguero, Costa Rica) have increased by an estimated four to fourteen percent each year over the past two to three decades. The increases in nesting varied considerably among the rookeries, most likely because historical and current exploitation of green turtles is different at each site.
"These results should be celebrated," said Milani Chaloupka, lead author of the report and vice chair of the IUCN Marine Turtle Specialist Group (MTSG). "They demonstrate that green turtle populations and presumably the green turtles' ecosystem roles can be recovered in spite of drastic population declines in the past." Sebastian Troëng, co-author, MTSG member, and senior director of regional marine strategies at Conservation International, said, "This analysis shines a light of hope on marine conservation efforts for endangered species and for biological diversity as a whole. Ambitious strategies including long-term protection of habitats and reduction of survival threats are working, and endangered species can be recovered."
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Scientists Publish Good News for Green Turtles Long-Term Nesting Beach Protection Works
Thursday, 2 October 2008