Pakistan

Rare loggerhead turtle caught, released back in sea

KARACHI: A loggerhead turtle, a rare marine turtle hitherto unknown from Pakistani waters, was caught in a fisherman net and later safely released back into the sea.

 

T0he turtle, weighing around 30kg, became entangled in the net of the fisherman and was safely retrieved on board the fishing vessel Al-Saquib Farman.

According to WWF, four species of marine turtles are known to exist in Pakistan, which include the commonly occurring green turtle that nest on different sandy beaches along the coast of Pakistan including Sandspit, Hawksbay, Paradise Point, Taq (Ormara), Astola Island, Gwadar and Daran (Jiwani).

Another species, the olive ridley turtle, used to nest on Pakistani beaches but no authentic record has been recorded for more than a decade.  Studies undertaken by WWF-Pakistan have revealed the presence of a very large population of olive ridley turtles in offshore waters of Pakistan despite an absence of nests along the coast.

A few live specimens of the leatherback and hawksbill turtles have been reported by WWF-Pakistan from the coast of Balochistan.

The loggerhead turtle, scientifically known as Caretta caretta inhabits the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans and the Mediterranean Sea. In the Indian Ocean, a large population exists in Oman, which hosts around 15,000 nests, giving it the second largest nesting population of loggerheads in the world.

In 2010 it was reported that a loggerhead was caught in Pakistan waters but later investigations indicated that it was actually an olive ridley turtle. Coastal communities in Pakistan are now more aware of the importance of marine turtles and a number of conservation related projects are being implemented in this regard.

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