Tom's Islet | 30 Sec | 1.8 MB
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Conclusions - nesting season
Only seven turtles nested at Cook's Islet during the twenty-five-night survey, and few turtles crawled at the other islets, indicating an alarmingly low number of breeding turtles in the nesting season. These results are corroborated by Palmerston fishermen, all of whom commented on the paucity of turtles this season. Ongoing tracking of the satellite-tagged turtle will provide insight into the migratory habits of Palmerston turtles, as will genetic analyses.

Given such low reproductive potential, the annual turtle harvest (5 to 8 turtles last season) could seriously jeopardize the population's survival. Turtles can be an important resource for the future of Palmerston, both as a link to Palmerston's rich heritage through low-level harvesting and as a catalyst for sustainable development through ecotourism. However, only careful management based on scientific research can ensure the turtles' welfare. This survey, if carried out each year, will enable the Palmerston community to monitor turtle nesting trends and to set sustainable harvesting quotas.

© Center for Cetacean Research and Conservation, 2004

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