Co-editor, Indian Ocean Turtle Newsletter
This special issue of IOTN examines the use of sea turtle hatcheries in South Asia. A common ex situ conservation strategy for threatened nests in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, their purpose and practices vary among countries. In Pakistan, large-scale hatcheries protect threatened nests laid on high density nesting beaches, while state Forest Departments and NGOs in India oversee varying numbers of comparatively small-scale hatcheries to protect nests laid on their local beaches. Hatcheries in Bangladesh are operated by NGOs on a similar scale to that of smaller hatcheries in India, Sri Lankan hatcheries are advertised as tourist attractions and are managed by private owners as small businesses. Articles in the special issue describe the hatchery operations in these four countries, and summarise the best practices that should be used by hatcheries throughout the region.
Included in IOTN27 is the annual report from SSTCN in Tamil Nadu, whose volunteers have been protecting nests at hatcheries since 1987. Along with other NGOs in the state, SSTCN plays an important role in turtle conservation and also in inspiring members of the general public who participate in their ‘Turtle Walks’.
The issue also presents a Research Summary potentially of interest to readers associated with sea turtle hatcheries. Light pollution in the immediate and adjacent areas to hatcheries may attract hatchlings and cause them to remain on the beach or in in-shore waters for longer than usual so they are fatigued and more vulnerable to predation, reducing the impact of hatcheries as a conservation strategy. The Resource of Interest- a field key to the developmental stages of embryonic sea turtles- is also relevant to hatchery management, as it can be used when excavating nests after hatchling emergence to determine the stage and time of embryo mortality and evaluate hatchery management practices and environmental conditions.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge that IOTN27 was produced with the considerable assistance of ALan Rees, who coordinated the review of most of the manuscripts in this issue.
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