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The Conservation of Sea Turtles: Practices and Problems

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icb/20.3.609 609-617 First published online: 1 August 1980


The various techniques in common use for conservation and restoration of depleted sea turtle populations are reviewed, namely: banning international commerce; operating artificial hatcheries, both in the natural beach environment and in styrofoam and other types of incubators; “head-starting” of hatchlings in captivity; protection of nesting females by means of beach patrols; and translocation of eggs or hatchlings to distant areas from which turtles have been extirpated or to which it is desired to introduce new colonies. The difficulties of monitoring the results of all of these techniques are discussed, and potential dangers or disadvantages of each approach are reviewed. It is concluded that, until unequivocal data become available, turtle conservationists should continue to pursue common sense or logically sound restoration programs, but should constantly re-evaluate their actions in the light of the latest available knowledge and modify or desist from current approaches as necessary.

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