Good news! Despite man-made catastrophes and the unwelcome effects of climate change, populations of sea turtles appear to be making a comeback. Comprehensive analys published in the journal Science Advances reveals that even small populations (which normally have a tough time reviving their numbers) are “bouncing back.” However, most sea turtle species are still listed as “vulnerable” or “endangered,” which is why conservation efforts must continue.
The analysis was led by Antonios Mazaris, an ecologist at Aristotle University in Greece, and a team of international researchers. He and his colleagues analyzed data on sea turtle nesting sites around the world over periods ranging from six to 47 years. They evaluated each site separately and then combined those findings with standardized individual sets to look for changes. It was discovered that most populations of sea turtles are reviving after historic declines.
One species that is not thriving is the leatherback sea turtle which can be found in the Eastern and Western Pacific. This finding supports previous assessments made by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which lists six out of seven sea turtle species as vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered.
The researchers think the sea turtle populations are rebounding because the threats to the species are more tangible. For instance, sea turtles are most likely to be poached on accident by fisherman or intentionally by those who seek to sell their parts as “aphrodisiacs” and/or “delicacies.” By addressing these concerns and enforcing conservation measures which have been in place for decades, the public is more likely to advocate for their protection.
While this recent analysis is positive news, research is still lacking. More information needs to be gathered on male to female ratios, for instance. In the paper, Mazaris advises “cautionary optimism.” He also says commends conservation efforts which have persisted for the past 70 years, and says the “long term efforts need to be supported.”
Via New York Times
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