Con Dao closely monitors sea turtle habitat

Thursday, 2018-09-06 16:23:36
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A staff member of Con Dao National Park monitors the reproductive activities of sea turtles in Bay Canh Islet. (Photo: NDO/Le Anh Tuan)
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NDO - As sea turtles on Con Dao Island off the coast of the southern province of Ba Ria - Vung Tau enter the breeding season, the work of monitoring their activities has been stepped up around the species’ habitat in Con Dao National Park.

Every year, the July-September period is the peak breeding season for sea turtles in Con Dao. Any negative impacts on the species’ habitat and reproduction during this period will greatly affect the management and conservation efforts for the rare and endangered species.

According to the researchers, sea turtles previously lived in most of Vietnam’s waters in great numbers. However, at present, all five species of sea turtle in Vietnam, including green (Chelonia mydas), hawksbill (Eretmochelys inbricata), loggerhead (Caretta caretta), leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), and olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) sea turtles, are significantly reduced in number due to human impacts and climate change. At present, Con Dao is the only place in Vietnam where sea turtles come to lay eggs, mainly olive ridley and hawksbill sea turtles, with the main population being olive ridley.

Director of Con Dao National Park, Nguyen Khac Pho, said: “The conservation of marine turtles' living and reproducing habitats in Con Dao faces many difficulties due to the negative impacts of extreme weather as well as human’s activities. The increase in the number of tourists to Con Dao and boat traffic on the sea all affect the habitat and reproduction of sea turtles. This is a great challenge for the conservation of the rare animal.”

Normally, its breeding season occurs between April and October, but the peak is from July to September each year. Any negative impacts on the marine turtle's habitat and reproduction during this period will greatly affect the management and conservation of the rare sea turtles.

In recent years, concerned authorities in Con Dao National Park and Con Dao district have intensified monitoring and maintenance of marine turtles’ living and breeding environment. Measures have also been taken to limit visitors from reaching the areas that are the breeding grounds of turtles. At the same time, they coordinate with the related functional forces to propagate and prevent hunting, especially for sea turtle eggs.

Director Pho added that the staff of the national park have discovered and prevented many cases of encroachment on the turtle's reproductive areas, while strictly dealing with cases of illegal hunting, trading and transportation of the rare species, in which there have been cases of criminal prosecution.

However, illegal hunting, trading and transportation are still occurring and have not been completely prevented, thus greatly affecting the task of preserving and maintaining the habitat for marine turtles in Con Dao. It is necessary for local authorities to strengthen their management and supervision in the area, he added.

As it is the peak season for sea turtles’ reproduction, the management and conservation of marine turtles is closely monitored by Con Dao National Park and Ba Ria - Vung Tau province. However, it is also necessary to provide information to local people and visitors to Con Dao to raise awareness and limit the littering and encroachment that can harm the habitat and reproduction activities of marine turtles in the area.