Turtle nesting experts today said that conflict has cut off most of the potential nesting spots for turtles and the spots include remotely placed locations as revealed by a new map for turtle nesting spots.
The sea turtles are having it hard as they have already been endangered by activities such as coastal development and fishing and are now in more danger as changes in the climatic conditions are threatening their reproduction. This is because the turtles need very special conditions to be able to reproduce and small alterations in the moisture and heat level are enough to prevent their eggs from hatching. Researchers say that it is now very important for the sea turtles to be able to know where conditions are optimum for them to lay eggs as the current global warming has made popular nesting spots useless due to the fact that they are either too hot or dry for use. The availability of some nesting spots that have the necessary conditions for the turtles to nest would be an ideal start show how global warming changes habitats.
James Cook University‘s turtle expert, Dr. David Pike, said that the problem is that most of the potential nesting sites are in areas that are very hard to access such as northern Australia and the existence of conflicts in places like East Africa’s Somalia makes it very hard for the turtle experts to venture in and carry research. He used a computer to try and locate some of these remote possible locations that would support turtle nesting due to their favourable climatic conditions. Dr. Pike further noted that the as the rate of global warming continues to rise, the other areas that are left ideal for the turtles to lay their eggs will warm as well making life even harder for the turtles. However, he added that conservation activities like reduced turtle poaching and proper use of prawn trailers will help stabilize the condition in the long run. He also added that for sea turtles to be protected from climate change, there will be need for them to kept safe from other threats caused by human activities they may be facing.
The new map also indicated that there are possible nesting sites that have not been studied at all and they deserve a study visit. He said that areas like northern Australia can be used to study the portions that would encourage mass turtle nesting and the results gleaned from the study can be used to give a foundation for follow up studies.
A PhD student at the School of Environmental Science at Charles Sturt University, Kylie Williams, said that the map has made turtle enthusiasts aware that there is a very big need to protect the turtles from the moment an egg is laid to full maturity. Ms Williams, who was not involved in the making of the map, also added that the map developed by Dr. Pike clearly shows the geographic ecology of turtles. On the same note, she said that the map gives us the ability to begin to understand just how much changes in the climate will affect the many species.