SURVEY SHOWS LOW NUMBERS OF LEATHERBACKS IN PNG

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Just 10 to 15 of the huge turtles nest on Bougainville
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 6,
2009) – A survey on leatherback turtle nests in Papua New Guinea has
revealed alarmingly low numbers, sparking fears of extinction.

In January, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme was contracted by the Western Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Council to carry out the survey on Bougainville Island.

SPREP’s Coastal Management Advisor, Jeff Kinch ,spent six days conducting research on turtle nests and spreading awareness of the importance of leatherbacks with local communities.

He says the survey recorded 46 leatherback turtle nests and predicts there are only nine to 15 adults left in Bougainville.

"In general in Bougainville the future of the leatherback turtle I think is questionable given the low population nesting density now. Basically all the eggs are being consumed and adult turtles up until the recent past have been regularly killed and consumed as well."

Jeff Kinch says greater efforts must be made to prevent local communities from helping themselves to turtle eggs.

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