In a rare bit of positive conservation news, it seems that sea turtle conservation efforts are working. Efforts date back to the 1950s, with countries all over the world participating.
Antonios Mazaris of Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Greece, working with other researchers, recently published an article in Science Advances. Therein, the team shared the results of a large-scale study on sea-turtle populations. They found that most species of sea turtles, in most locations in the world, are making a comeback. Leatherback turtles in the eastern and western Pacific are one of the exceptions. But overall, it seems conservation efforts are having an effect.
Sea turtle conservation efforts take root
Conservation efforts include legislation against the capture and trade of sea turtles, increased regulation on fishing areas and techniques, and restoration of nesting sites worldwide.
Researchers found one particularly positive development — that even small sea turtle populations can rebound, despite being much more vulnerable than larger populations. In the French Frigate Shoals in Hawaii, the sea turtle population reached a historic low of 200 in 1973. But, with legal protection, that population has grown to around 2,000 individuals. Researchers now considered this one of the healthiest sea turtle populations in the United States.
This study and the research demonstrate that conservation can be quite effective. Both international legislation and pressure on local governments to protect sensitive and critical areas work when it comes to conservation. Legislation against trade and capture, in conjunction with other initiatives, can also help restore animal populations that are on the brink of extinction.
We must conduct more research to fully understand the health of the world’s sea-turtle population. Further research will also help us understand the underlying reasons for the rebound. Through this, the work conservationists are doing for sea turtles may serve as the best case-studies for the protection of other species.