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Assessment of marine turtle nesting habitats from Tangalle to the Kumbukkan Oya estuary in south-eastern Sri Lanka

Authors:

SJ Perera ,

Sabaragamuwa University, LK
About SJ
Department of Natural Resources
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WPN Perera,

IUCN - International Union for Conservation of Nature, Sri Lanka Country Office, LK
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S de A Goonatilake,

IUCN - International Union for Conservation of Nature, Sri Lanka Country Office, LK
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K Ekaratne,

IUCN - International Union for Conservation of Nature, Sri Lanka Country Office, LK
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D Wijesinghe,

IUCN - International Union for Conservation of Nature, Sri Lanka Country Office, LK
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LV Perera,

Sabaragamuwa University, LK
About LV
Department of Natural Resources
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D Chandranimal,

32/3, Central Road, Thalpitiya North, Wadduwa, LK
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A Ediriweera

Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort, LK
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Abstract

This study assessed marine turtle nesting habitats along the south-eastern coastline of Sri Lanka, with the specific objectives of (i) reporting the quality of turtle nesting habitats, turtle nesting abundance, and threats to nesting turtles; (ii) comparing the current results with the results of a study conducted in 2004 and (iii) recommending conservation actions. The current study was carried out from August 2017 to May 2018 to assess the three parameters given in objective (i) above, along a 133 km coastal belt in 531 transects of 250 m each. Direct visual observations were supplemented with data collected from local people and validated using habitat suitability modelling using MaxEnt software. The study demarcated seven turtle nesting hotspots and recommends priority areas for nine turtle conservation activities. Those include the declaration of the Palatupana beach that connects the existing Nimalawa Sanctuary and Yala National Park including its shallow sea as a sanctuary. Its management is recommended through public-private partnerships ensuring healthy nesting turtle populations and their monitoring, while promoting turtle-based tourism under strict guidelines. Factors contributing adversely for nesting turtles such as coastal constructions and clearance of beach vegetation should be considered in management actions for the conservation of these globally threatened reptiles. The need for future research is also identified.

How to Cite: Perera, S., Perera, W., Goonatilake, S. de A., Ekaratne, K., Wijesinghe, D., Perera, L., Chandranimal, D. and Ediriweera, A., 2022. Assessment of marine turtle nesting habitats from Tangalle to the Kumbukkan Oya estuary in south-eastern Sri Lanka. Journal of the National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka, 50(4), pp.755–769. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/jnsfsr.v50i4.10674
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Published on 31 Dec 2022.
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