Species in news: Leatherback Sea Turtle

  • IASbaba
  • February 17, 2021
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Species in news: Leatherback Sea Turtle

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Biodiversity; Environment

In news

  • Some conservationists are worried about the fate of the Giant Leatherback turtles. 
  • NITI Aayog has laid down proposals for tourism and port development in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. 

Key takeaways 

  • NITI Aayog’s tourism vision includes a proposal for a mega-shipment port at Galathea Bay on Great Nicobar Island. 
  • Also, the Little Andaman plan proposes phased growth of tourism on this untouched island, which may lead to the de-reservation of over 200 sq km of rainforests and also of about 140 sq km of the Onge Tribal Reserve.

Important value additions 

Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) 

  • It is the largest of the seven species of sea turtles. 
  • Other species are: Olive Ridley turtle, Green turtle, Hawksbill turtle, Loggerhead turtle, Leatherback turtle
  • Except the Loggerhead, the remaining four species nest along the Indian coast.
  • It is found in all oceans except the Arctic and the Antarctic.
  • Within the Indian Ocean, they nest only in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • It is the only living species in the genus Dermochelys and family Dermochelyidae.
  • It can easily be differentiated from other modern sea turtles by its lack of a bony shell. 
  • They are listed in Schedule I of India’s Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. 

Do you know? 

  • The Ministry of Environment has released National Marine Turtle Action Plan in which A&N Islands are given prominent importance. 
  • According to the plan, India has identified all its important sea turtle nesting habitats as ‘Important Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Areas’. 
  • These areas have been included in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) – 1.
  • South Bay and West Bay on Little Andaman and Galathea on Great Nicobar, are mentioned as “Important Marine Turtle Habitats in India” 

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