Forest Department, Government of Gujarat,
Mandvi, Kachchh-Bhuj, Gujarat 371001, India.
Gujarat State has the longest coastline in the country covering more than 1600 km. Olive ridleys and green turtles nest on the Gujarat coast (Sunderraj et al., 2006a), with a predominance of olive ridleys on the Kachchh coast (Sunderraj et al., 2006a,b). Though incidental mortality is low on this coast, turtles face a significant threat from depredation of nests by animals and humans, and from coastal development (Sunderraj et al., 2006a, b). Given the importance of these marine reptiles and the threats they face, in-situ hatching and ex-situ conservation programmes have been in operation in Gujarat since 1985-86. Hatcheries were established at Mandvi and Nalia, but the programme was strengthened after surveys by the Gujarat Institute of Desert Ecology (GuIDE) as part of the GOI-UNDP sea turtle project (Sunderraj et al., 2006a). The eggs are currently collected by the forest department staff and hired trained personnel. These eggs are being buried in the hatchery under the same conditions as the wild. A total of 8546 olive ridleys, 182 green turtle and 50 leatherback hatchlings have been successfully hatched and released into the sea from hatcheries in Mandvi and Nalia in Kachchh distict.
The efforts being made by the forest department need to be strengthened. In-situ protection needs to be more effective with proper protection at site and regular monitoring by the field staff. Public awareness programmes for the fisherfolk and other coastal inhabitants regarding the conservation significance of these threatened species will reduce the predation of nests.
Table 1: Collection of eggs and hatching success from 1985 to 2006 at Mandvi and Nolia hatcheries
|No. of Successful hatchlings|
|Year||Site||No. of eggs collected||Olive ridley||Green turtle||Leatherback||Success Rate (%)|
Table 2: Collection and hatching of the turtles during the year 2005 – 06 and 2006 – 07
|Site||Collection of eggs||Survival of hatchlings||Survival percentage||Remark|
|Mandvi||Date||Number||Date||Number||Survival is more if collection is in July.|
Sunderraj, S.F.W, J. Joshua & V.Vijaya Kumar. 2006a. Sea turtles and their nesting habitats in Gujarat. In: Marine turtles of the Indian subcontinent (Eds. K. Shanker & B.C. Choudhury), pp. 156-169. Universities Press, Hyderabad, India.
Sunderraj, S.F.W. & J. Joshua. 2006b. Status report on UNEP – CMS sea turtle project on the Gujarat coast, India. Indian Ocean Turtle Newsletter 3: 6-10.
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