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Prying humans threaten turtle nesting habitat

 Staff Reporter

MUSCAT

Environment Society of Oman announced the completion of another stage of its turtle research and conservation project on Masirah Island. The initiative studied three — loggerhead, olive Ridley and hawksbill — of the four marine turtle species that nest on the island.

The island comprises one of the highest densities of loggerhead turtles in the world. But, research has shown that the nesting habitat of this population is compromised, likely due to human activities, including beach driving, beach erosion, fishing, boat landing, recreation, nest poaching, light pollution, ingestion of marine litter and encroachment.

The population’s rapid decline has led to the denomination of the North West Indian Ocean subpopulation, which nests in Oman, as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. They are considered to be facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.

ESO programme director Suaad Al Harthi said, “For years, people lived in harmony with these magnificent sea turtles. But today, that coexistence is threatened by a number of issues. Over the last decade, ESO has been working hard to identify the causes and ways to protect turtle population.

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