Let's help our turtles

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18th March 2018 Fiji Times Online

OUT of the seven species of turtles in the world, four species are common in Fiji's water, making its conservation efforts pivotal.

According to the World Wildlife Fund Pacific, the four species of turtles found in Fiji are also on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

The four species, according to WWF Pacific, are the hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricate), the Pacific leatherback (Dermochelys Coriacea) turtles which are now critically endangered with the loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and green (Chelonia mydas) turtles listed as endangered.

A major threat for turtles in Fiji not only includes illegal, unsustainable harvesting, accidental capture, but also turtles, like humans, are not immune to the impacts of climate change.

WWF Pacific conservation director Francis Areki said studies indicated beach erosion, through sea level rise, could destroy nesting sites.

"Adding to this is that warmer condition of beaches through global warming and the warming of the turtle nesting sites then affects the sex of hatchlings and so in this case, a decrease in breeding grounds and its population" he said.

WWF studies have documented how sea turtles are affected by climate change and the best ways to reduce their vulnerability to changing environmental conditions.

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