Wildlife of Pakistan


turtles


 

Green Turtle

(Chelonia Mydas)

 

PHOTO CREDIT: WWF-Pakistan

 

Local name: Sabaaz Kchuwa (Urdu)

Description and Biology:

The Green Turtle is the largest of the hard-shelled sea turtles (the Leatherback Dermochelys can grow much larger) although size, weight, and carapace shape can vary markedly between different populations. Average nesting female carapace length 80 to 110cm and weighs 110 to 185kg. The Green Turtle eats exclusively seagrass and seaweed (algae). The Green Turtle forages in shallow, inshore waters. Aggregations of Green Turtles often occur over shallow-water seagrass pastures or other suitable feeding grounds. Migrating Green Turtles may travel 20 to 40km per day. It is suggested that migratory behaviour is particularly linked with herbivory, since the richest feeding grounds (notably sea grasses) are most often found in shallow areas of coastal deposition, and do not typically coincide with the best nesting grounds (often isolated predator-free island beaches). Females do not attain maturity in the wild for 15 to 50 years. After a period of two to five decades, females typically migrate to a nesting beach often used by aggregations of turtles. Females remigrate at intervals of three years, and may lay three clutches of 100 to 120 eggs. Hatchlings emerge mostly at night from eggs buried in beach sand and make their way to the sea. (information from WWF)

Habitat and Distribution:

The beaches of Pakistan are some of the most important nesting grounds for the Green Turtles. Each year thousands of female Green Turtles come to the beaches of Hawksbay and Sandspit off the coast of Karachi to lay their eggs. The Sind Wildlife Department in collaboration with WWF-Pakistan is working on a project for safe release of turtle hatchling to the Arabian sea since 1980's. The egg are carefully kept in closed enclosers and released after the hatchlings are hatched. Unfortunately, the Wildlife Department is shorts of funds and faces many problems (Click here to read a report from The EARTH TIMES). Recent reports indicate that the population of nesting females has declined alarmingly (Click here for a report by Fahmida F. Israr).

 

 

Olive Ridley Turtle

(Lepodochelys olivacea)

 

PHOTO CREDIT: Unknown

 

Local name: Zatoni Kchuwa (Urdu)

Description and Biology:

The Olive Ridley is a small turtle, usually less than 100 pounds. Average nesting female carapace length 55 to 75cm and weighs 35kg. The overall color of this turtle is olive green. This is an omnivorous turtle which feeds on crustaceans, mollusks and tunicates. An average clutch size is over 110 eggs which require a 52 to 58 day incubation period. Females of Lepidochelys species tend to emerge to nest in large synchronised concentrations (arribadas) when population density is sufficiently high. The main food items recorded are crabs and shrimps, but sessile and pelagic tunicates, jellyfish and other small invertebrates appear in the diet, also fish eggs. Olive Ridleys have been captured in prawn trawls at depths of 80 to 110m, so they are certainly capable of foraging at relatively great depth.

Habitat and Distribution:

The Olive Ridley is relatively rare in Pakistan, but nestings have been reported each year at Hawksbay and Sandspit beaches off the coast of karachi. Though, large arribadas occur in two beaches in Orissa State (north-east peninsular India), on the Bay of Bengal. The Sind Wildlife Department in collaboration with WWF-Pakistan is working on a project for safe release of turtle hatchling to the Arabian sea since 1980's. The egg are carefully kept in closed enclosers and released after the hatchlings are hatched. Unfortunately, the Wildlife Department is shorts of funds and faces many problems (Click here to read a report from The EARTH TIMES). Recent reports indicate that the population of nesting females has declined alarmingly (Click here for a report by Fahmida F. Israr).

 


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