Endangered Green Turtle Making A Comeback In The Seychelles
Conservations efforts are paying off in the Seychelles with the endangered green turtle appearing on beaches again.
Turtle hunting was banned in the Seychelles in 1968, but it was a slow recovery with researchers only finding one or two turtle tracks on a beach in the 1980s.
That grew to 10 to 20 by the mid-1990s and it’s only been up from there with the annual number of green turtle clutches increasing to more than 15,000 in the late 2010s according to a study published in Endangered Species Research.
“There’s potential for this population to double, triple, we’re not even sure,” said Lead Author Adam Pritchard told Popular Science.
“This could just be the start. It’s amazing that, after slower growth in the beginning, there’s been this real explosion in recent years.”
The success of green turtle conservation is a testament to the importance of long-term protection and the Aldabra Atoll’s designation as a UNESCO Heritage Site in 1982.
“It could’ve gone the other way so easily if people had made some other decision to not protect Aldabra,” said co-author Cheryl Sanchez from the Seychelles Island Foundation.
Aldabra’s green turtle restoration is not the only win for the species in recent years. Similar recoveries have been recorded in the US, Costa Rica, and Ascension Island to name a few.
And in each of these cases, the key lesson has been identified – if we protect their habitat, the turtles will recover.
“One thing that people have learned is protection works,” Jeanne Mortimer, founder and chair of Turtle Action Group Seychelles, told Popular Science.
“But you may need to be patient and wait for 35 years.”