Thursday, February 3, 2011

Green Turtle in Pakistan

The beaches of Pakistan are some of the most important nesting grounds for the Green Turtles. Each year thousands of female Green Turtles come to the beaches of Hawksbay and Sandspit off the coast of Karachi to lay their eggs. The Sind Wildlife Department in collaboration with WWF-Pakistan is working on a project for safe release of turtle hatchling to the Arabian sea since 1980's. Green Turtle nests are laid throughout the year, with most nests occurring between July and December. The egg are carefully kept in closed enclosers and released after the hatchlings are hatched. 

 The Green Turtle is the largest of the hard-shelled sea turtles (the Leatherback Dermochelys can grow much larger) although size, weight, and carapace shape can vary markedly between different populations. Average nesting female carapace length 80 to 110cm and weighs 110 to 185kg.

The Green Turtle eats exclusively seagrass and seaweed (algae). The Green Turtle forages in shallow, inshore waters. Aggregations of Green Turtles often occur over shallow-water seagrass pastures or other suitable feeding grounds. Migrating Green Turtles may travel 20 to 40km per day. It is suggested that migratory behaviour is particularly linked with herbivory, since the richest feeding grounds (notably sea grasses) are most often found in shallow areas of coastal deposition, and do not typically coincide with the best nesting grounds (often isolated predator-free island beaches). Females do not attain maturity in the wild for 15 to 50 years. After a period of two to five decades, females typically migrate to a nesting beach often used by aggregations of turtles. Females remigrate at intervals of three years, and may lay three clutches of 100 to 120 eggs. Hatchlings emerge mostly at night from eggs buried in beach sand and make their way to the sea.
Public awareness and co-operation is essential in order to achieve the best of the turtle protection project. People who visit Sandspit and Hawksbay beaches for picnic, should realise that these beaches are the crucial abodes with no choice for turtles to multiply their population, in other words, to continue their existence in this region.

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