Green turtles mating off of Palmerston Atoll

Turtle Triple | 35 Sec | 2.1 MB
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Green Turtles of Palmerston Atoll
The green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) is listed worldwide as a threatened and endangered species. Green turtle populations have declined in the Pacific Islands due primarily to nesting habitat loss and excessive harvesting. Green turtles have presumably nested at Palmerston Atoll for thousands of years, and have been an important food resource since the atoll was settled in 1863. Commercial harvesting for export was undertaken for several decades in the past century. The status and biology of the Palmerston turtle population is unknown; harvesting has neither been regulated nor documented.

With worldwide sea turtle populations dropping, South Pacific populations declining, and other Cook Islands rookeries unlikely to recover, conserving the Palmerston Atoll rookery warrants immediate attention. Determining the status of the atoll's nesting turtles and training islanders to monitor them are the first steps towards effective conservation management.


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