KARACHI: On the occasion of World Sea Turtle Day which is being celebrated on Jun 16, 2016, WWF-Pakistan stressed the need for conservation of sea turtles which are facing serious threats due to multiple anthropogenic factors in Pakistan.

‘Protection of sea turtles cannot be done alone by government agencies and NGOs but it requires support and contribution of all members of communities including fishermen, residents of coastal areas and general public’, said a press release.

Five species of sea turtles were known from Pakistan based on records mentioned scientific literature.

However, two species including green turtle (Cheloniamydas) and the olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelysolivacea) were known to be visiting beaches and laying their eggs. Another species leatherback turtle (Dermochelyscoriacea) was recorded from three dead specimens. Loggerhead turtle (Carettacaretta) and hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelysimbricata) were observed to be rarest sea turtles found in Pakistan. Through the efforts of WWF-Pakistan, live specimens of all five species have been collected.

One of the major causes of the mortality of sea turtles in Pakistan is attributed to their entanglement in fishing gears. Most of these turtles are found to get entangled in gillnets both in coastal and offshore waters.

Green turtles is most common species found along the coast of Pakistan and females of this species visit sandy beaches along Pakistan coast including Sandspit, Hawksbay, Cape Monz, Sonmiani, Ormara, Astola Island, Daran and Jiwani. Olive ridely turtles used to frequently visit Pakistani beaches as well but no nesting of olive ridely was reported from Pakistan during last 13 years.

It is estimated that the population of olive ridely turtle is almost 6 times higher than that of green turtles.