As many as 16,500 hatchlings of the green sea turtles which lay eggs on the coastal areas of Karachi have been released into the Arabian Sea as their breeding season has come to an end, as per wildlife officials.
Every year, the green sea turtles, the only herbivore among different turtle species, come to Karachi’s beaches, including Hawke’s Bay, Paradise Point, and Sandspit, to lay eggs.
“We had set a target of hatching 30,000 eggs in the chamber, while 150 female turtles were tagged for breeding,” Ashfaq Memon, in-charge of the Sindh Wildlife Department’s Marine Turtles Conservation Unit, told media.”One green turtle lays 100 to 120 eggs at a time, while the hatching period is between 40 and 60 days,” he said, adding that “the hatchlings are then released into the sea by our guards.”Sindh Wildlife Department figures, around 900,000 baby turtles have been released into the sea since 1975.
“Measures adopted by the Department to protect the green sea turtles have paid off as an increasing number of turtles are now turning up at more coastal sites of Sindh to lay eggs,” Memon said.Experts say that 7 species of sea turtles used to be found in the coastal areas of Sindh and Balochistan two decades ago.These numbers have now been reduced to only two due to marine pollution and commercial and recreational activities on the coasts. Alarmingly, among the remaining two species, the olive ridley sea turtle has also become extinct. No living olive ridley turtle has been spotted on the beaches .of Karachi. since 2010.