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Research reveals true extent of sea turtle conservation success

Onderzoek onthult de ware omvang van het succes van het behoud van zeeschildpaddenFrontiers in Marine Science (2022). DOI: 10.3389/fmars.2022.817014″ width=”800″ height=”530″/>

Location of the 17 breeding beaches monitored during 17 breeding seasons between 2000/2001 and 2016/2017 (A) and the sampling effort at those locations presented as the proportion of sampling days in the season (241 days between September and April) that each location was examined (B). Beach names: 1. Niandji, 2. Mvandji, 3. Paris, 4. Kondi, 5. Bondi, 6. Longo Bondi Nord, 7. Longo Bondi Sud, 8. Bellelo, 9. Bas Kouilou Nord, 10. Bas Kouilou Sud , 11. Nkounda, 12. Port, 13. Pointe Noire, 14. Mvassa, 15. Mvassa embouchure/werf Djeno, 16. Djeno, and 17. Cabinda. Credit: Frontiers in Marine Science (2022). DOI: 10.3389/fmars.2022.817014

The true magnitude of successful conservation efforts to protect sea turtle populations along the western coast of Central Africa is revealed in a new study, published in Frontiers in Marine Science

The research team, including scientists from the University of Exeter, has studied long-term population trends for olive ridley and leatherback turtles breeding in the Republic of Congo.

The new study, which uses advanced modeling along with previously unpublished data collected by several organizations including Renatura Congo and the Wildlife Conservation Society, provides the first long-term analysis of how the numbers of these two species of sea turtles change over time. are changed. last two decades.

The results suggest that the abundance of olive tortoise nests has shown signs of a steady increase in recent years.

For leatherback turtles, however, the pattern is more cyclical, with periods of high and low nest numbers.

The Republic of Congo’s only marine national park plays a key role, as it protects more than half of the olive and leatherback turtle nests in the country.

dr. Lucy Omeyer, a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Exeter, said: “The results highlight both the regional and global importance of the Republic of Congo for sea turtles, where the second-largest documented populations of olive ridley and third-largest for leatherback turtles in Central Africa.”

Sea turtles have lived in the oceans for more than 100 million years, but they have faced an unprecedented array of threats – from the illegal trapping of turtles, bycatch (accidental capture), and the loss of nesting and foraging habitats from urban sprawl, climate change, and pollution.

However, global conservation efforts to protect populations of sea turtles on land and at sea have allowed numerous populations to recover, as the new study finds.

Nathalie Mianseko, director and founder of the NGO Renatura Congo, said: “We have worked tirelessly to protect sea turtles in the Republic of Congo for over 15 years.

“Illegal capture of females and their eggs during the breeding season has been significantly reduced thanks to beach patrols and environmental education campaigns targeting both children and adults.

“In addition to protection on land, we have also developed a by-catch release program. This has resulted in more than 18,000 turtles incidentally caught in fishing nets returning to the sea since 2005.”

The researchers say that while the results highlight the Republic of Congo’s significant efforts to protect sea turtles, there is room for further protection along Africa’s Atlantic coast.

The advanced modeling used in this study will also be particularly valuable to conduct similar studies elsewhere to uncover trends in sea turtle numbers when data is lacking.

Thousands of turtles lay eggs on Nicaraguan coast

More information:
Lucy CM Omeyer et al, Missing data in sea turtle monitoring : a Bayesian statistical framework that accounts for incomplete sampling, Frontiers in Marine Science (2022). DOI: 10.3389/fmars.2022.817014

Provided by the University of Exeter

Quote: Study Reveals True Scale of Sea Turtle Conservation Success (2022, June 14) Retrieved June 15, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-06-reveals-true-extent-sea-turtle.html

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