Indian Ocean ‘world’s most dangerous place’ for turtles

2011-09-29 11:27

Geneva – Nearly half of the world’s endangered sea turtle populations nest in the northern Indian Ocean, according to a study by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which was released today.

“Five of the world’s eleven most threatened species of sea turtles are found in the northern Indian Ocean,” it said in a statement.

The biggest threats come from “accidental catches of sea turtles by fishermen targeting other species, and the direct harvest of turtles or their eggs for food or turtle shell material for commercial use,” it said.

Populations at risk of dying out include olive ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) which nest in Oman, India and Sri Lanka; loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Myanmar; and hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Other endangered turtle populations can be found nesting in the coasts of West Africa, Central America and Japan, the IUCN said.

Australia is the world’s happiest turtle breeding ground, hosting four of the world’s 12 healthiest nesting populations, it added.

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