Endangered Green Turtle Baby Boom Breaks 28-year Record

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Green sea turtle numbers are showing signs that years of conservation efforts are starting to pay off. Conservation International has announced that over 1.4 million green turtle eggs were laid last year in 14,220 nests on Baguan Island of Turtle Islands, Tawi-Tawi. This is an all-time high since 1984 when recording began.

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Conservation International reports, "The 2011 figures translate to 2,844 nesting green turtles and 1.44 million turtle eggs laid."

Romeo Trono, CI Philippines Country Executive Director, notes in a press release, “With an average of 90% hatching success and 1% survival rate up to sexual maturity, Baguan in 2011 alone could contribute up to 13,000 to the adult turtle population.”

These are fantastic numbers for a species that is classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List. All sea turtle species are threatened or endangered, and green sea turtles face illegal poaching by fishermen, egg harvesting by locals and habitat destruction through pollution, overfishing, and human encroachment.

However, Malaysia and the Philippines have worked together to set aside nine islands as part of the Turtle Islands Heritage Protected Area (TIHPA). Here, green turtles have a chance at bringing their numbers back up. And the count from the 2011 nesting season shows promise.

“The increasing nest numbers show that when turtles are protected on their nesting beaches and in the water for long enough, they will recover,” said Dr. Bryan Wallace Director of Science for the Marine Flagship Species Program at CI. “The Turtle Islands are a globally important area for green turtles, especially for the West Pacific population, because of the relatively high abundance present and because of increasing protections for turtles in the area.”

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Tags: Animals | Conservation | Turtles