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July 09, 2020

Five rare sea turtle species recorded in southern Rakhine

A loggerhead turtle crawling on the Kyeintali Beach, Gwa Township, Rakhine State. Photo: KIFCA
A loggerhead turtle crawling on the Kyeintali Beach, Gwa Township, Rakhine State. Photo: KIFCA

All the five rare sea turtle species could be recorded in southern Rakhine State, amidst the fears for their eternal disappearance, U Thant Zin Oo, Secretary of Kyeintali Inshore Fisheries Co-Management Association (KIFCA), told the media yesterday.
As the populations of the turtle species that lay eggs in Kyeintali beach in Gwa Township, at the southern tip of Rakhine State are dwindling annually, KIFCA has been conducting public awareness campaigns in cooperation with the Fisheries Department in and around the area.
“We had found and recorded Green turtles near Ponnyet conservation zone 1 in the area in January and February last year, and unexpectedly captured a Hawksbill turtle in the zone. We released the turtle back into the sea after taking record photos of it,” U Thant Zin Oo said.
In July 2019, we found that a Leatherback turtle laid eggs in the sand. “We could take record photos of her eggs and tracks. One of the turtle species, Olive Ridley Turtle can be frequently found in the area. Fortunately, we could document the egg laying of a Loggerhead turtle for the first time at the zone. We had not seen Loggerhead turtles in the area for a long time, and they are becoming rare on the whole Southeast Asia,” the KIFCA secretary explained.
The Fisheries Department, Rakhine Coastal Region Conservation Association (RCA), local turtle conservation committees, Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) have been making ardent efforts in saving the rare species in the zone.
Of the seven turtle species around the world, five of them — Green turtle, Hawksbill turtle, Olive Ridley turtle, Leatherback turtle and Loggerhead turtle – inhabit in Myanmar seas. In the past, all the five species could be found laying eggs on the shores of Kyeintali, but now they are at the risk of extinction resulting from various causes.
An area of 179,200 acres (280 square miles) has been demarcated as the turtle conservation zone.—Peinzalok Thein Nyunt (Translated by TMT)

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