Sea Turtle Project Numbers in the Indian Ocean

Sea Turtle Project Numbers in the Indian Ocean

Posted by Michael Starbuck on 25th May 2015

May 23rd was World Turtle Day, a day in which turtles and tortoises are brought into the spotlight. The day gives an opportunity to those who work with turtles and who help with conservation turtle projects to inform wider society of the current state of the world turtle population, and where the main problems are. It also gives an opportunity for those involved in conservation to highlight the success stories.

The Indian Ocean is one region where the great projects operate through its great turtle project offering. It gives volunteers the opportunity to travel to Sri Lanka to maintain a specially constructed hatchery, and help look after the turtles.

But what is the situation in the wider Indian Ocean area? And are conservation efforts working?

Turtles in the Indian Ocean

Some species of turtles exist in the Indian Ocean in large numbers, but others are at risk of extinction. The main risks come from harvesting their meat and eggs for food, and habitat loss due to development and climate change. Bycatch is also a significant problem. This is where turtles are accidentally caught up in fishing nets – all turtles in the Indian Ocean are affected by this.

Six different types of turtle live in the Indian Ocean:

  • Green turtle - populations of the green turtle have been in decline, although due to conservation efforts some populations are recovering. The biggest threats are over-harvesting the meat and eggs, and bycatch.

 

  • Hawksbill turtle - conservation in places like Malaysia and the Seychelles have seen some hawksbill turtle populations stabilize, but the general trend across the wider Indian Ocean is a downward one.

 

  • Loggerhead turtle - the story of the loggerhead turtle is mixed with it declining in some parts of the Indian Ocean, and increasing in other parts.

 

  • Olive ridley turtle - some strong conservation projects in places like India have helped to maintain the population of olive ridley turtles. A ban on the commercial trade of this species of turtle has also helped. There are indications of difficulties with the population though, in part because of problems with bycatch.

 

  • Leatherback turtle - the leatherback turtle is at risk of extinction. Populations have dramatically decreased in recent years because of over harvesting and bycatch. It is the Indian Ocean species that is at greatest risk.

 

  • Flatback turtle - less is known about the flatback turtle than any other species of turtle in the Indian Ocean. It is widely thought to be vulnerable to extinction, but experts usually agree that the data they have to work with is insufficient. Getting caught as bycatch is the biggest threat that it faces.

 

Other Factors

More broad areas of work are taking place to combat what some people have called the Asian turtle crises. Traditionally, turtles have been captured in large numbers for food and medicine. This is particularly the case in China. Efforts are ongoing to encourage the use of farmed turtles rather than capturing those from the wild. Much of the trade is illegal, though, so there is also work going on to stop that trade. This is done through increased patrols by rangers in affected countries, particularly in areas where nesting takes place. Education programs have also been taking place in China and elsewhere to highlight the problems and risks that the turtle population faces.

So, while there is good work ongoing in the Indian Ocean region, more work still needs to be done to bring population levels of all species of turtle up to healthy levels.


Share this Article...

Share this article with your friends and followers by using the social media buttons below.


Leave a Comment...

Wanting to add something to this story or just let us know your thoughts? Just leave your comments below. Please be aware that all comments will be moderated: abusive behaviour or self-promotion will not be allowed.

500 characters remaining

Has this blog inspired you to volunteer? If so, why not enquire today? Simply fill out an enquiry form, and allow a member of our travel team to assist with your query! Please note that blog comments are not monitored by the travel team, so any questions related to bookings may be missed.


Featured Blog Arcticles


Featured Videos


Experience The Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary

See what you could get up to as a volunteer at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary! This volunteer project offers you the chance to get up close and personal with some of the country's most iconic species.

Discover The Great White Shark Project

Come face to face with one of the world’s most misunderstood predators whilst aiding great white shark conservation. As a volunteer, not only will you get the incredible opportunity to dive with sharks, but you will also assist the team in raising awareness of the great white as you work alongside tourists and local school children to provide them with knowledge of the local environment and the importance of living in harmony with South Africa’s marine life.

Volunteers Review Their Experience at the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary

Volunteers talk about their recent experience at the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary in Borneo.

Latest Blog Arcticles


It’s Orangutan Release Time!

It’s Orangutan Release Time!

12 more orangutans have been successfully released back...

Meet 12 orangutan candidates up for release!

Meet 12 orangutan candidates up for release!

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the Borneo...

Linda's Samboja Lestari Orangutan Adventure

Linda's Samboja Lestari Orangutan Adventure

Linda Duchin volunteered at the Samboja Lestari Orangutan...

Two Rewilded Cheetahs, Two Years On - A Remarkable Rewilding Story

Two Rewilded Cheetahs, Two Years On - A Remarkable Rewilding Story

Join us on a remarkable rewilding journey as we revisit the...

Janet & Mick's Unforgettable Gorilla Adventure

Janet & Mick's Unforgettable Gorilla Adventure

Janet and Mick joined The Great Gorilla Project last year...

The Team Returns - James & Lauren's South Africa Experience

The Team Returns - James & Lauren's South Africa Experience

Lauren and James have returned and are ready to relay tales...

The Great Projects On Tour: Upcoming Staff Trips

The Great Projects On Tour: Upcoming Staff Trips

Team members Lauren and James, joined colleague Georgia to...

Lynne's Top Tips For Volunteering at the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary

Lynne's Top Tips For Volunteering at the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary

Volunteer Lynne Coe shares her valuable tips on what to...


Where you can go
Contact Info
UK Office
The Great Traveller Ltd,
3 Dairy Yard
Star Street
Ware, Hertfordshire
SG12 7DX
United Kingdom

Opening hours:
   Mon-Fri 8:30am–5:30pm
   Sat 10am-4pm

T: +44(0) 208 885 4987