Published on January 15, 2008
Sea Turtles situation and study in I.R. Iran: Sea Turtles situation and study in I.R. Iran Asghar Mobaraki Expert of wild Life and Aquatic affairs Bureau National Focal Point For MOU-IOSEA Department Of The Environment Email: [email protected] Contact with the Gulf and Oman sea : Contact with the Gulf and Oman sea 1800 km shorelines on north of the Persian Gulf and Oman sea Four provinces on the shores: Khuzestan, Booshehr, Hormozgan and Sistan and Baluchestan 30 small and big islands in the Gulf with coastline of about 600 km Queshm, Hendourabi, Kish, Sheedvar, Lavan, Mond area islands(Ommolkaram and Nakhiloo), Khark, Kharkoo are the most important Islands The species and area: The species and area Considering the existing populations of the species and their distribution both of the area and species could be divided to two main parts: -The area : 1-the Persian Gulf and 2-Oman sea -The species: 1- Hawksbill and 2- Green turtles The Species and Habitats in the Persian Gulf: The Species and Habitats in the Persian Gulf The area consists of the main nesting habitats for the Hawksbills and some for the Green turtles Different Islands are the most important nesting sites for the species but, some mainland sites are also do exist Green turtles in different life stages are the main feeding species, specially around the Islands. Some feeding Hawksbills in juvenile stages have found and confirmed There is not any conformed records for other species The species and Habitats in the Oman sea area: The species and Habitats in the Oman sea area The area consists of important feeding grounds for the Green sea turtles in different life stages all year long There are some important nesting sites for the green turtles in a few numbers too (Mobaraki 2004) Olive Ridley also has reported form the area( Kami 1997, Mobaraki 2003) Although there are some suitable nesting sites for the Hawksbill and also there are some reports on it’s nesting in far years( Kinunen and Walczack 1971), there were not any records in the past years The most important nesting sites of Hawksbills in the Persian Gulf: The most important nesting sites of Hawksbills in the Persian Gulf Considering the nesting populations of hawksbill turtles as well as effective threatening factors, some Islands in the area are supposed to be the most important nesting sites for this species in which the following ones have highly priority( Mobaraki 2004): 1- Sheedvar, Hendourabi, Hengam, Queshm, Farour in Hormozgan province 2- Nakhiloo, Ommolkaram, Kharkoo Islands and Nayband Bay in Booshehr province MAP Main nesting site and feeding grounds for green turtles recorded in Oman sea area : Main nesting site and feeding grounds for green turtles recorded in Oman sea area Considering the long shorelines of the Oman sea and lack of equipments it is difficult to cover all the are annually, but in some regular survey the main sites have identified (Mobaraki 2004) 1-Nesting sites: Cholotr, ahmad Rizeh, Karatti, Kachoo, Kohpansar, Tang 2- feeding grounds: Tang, Pozm, Miami, Djodd Sea turtles study in Iran( far years): Sea turtles study in Iran( far years) There are some information and reports from far years like: Kinunen and Walczack 1971 Anderson 1979 Harington 1976 Groombrige and luxmoore 1989 Sea turtles study in Iran (in the past years): Sea turtles study in Iran (in the past years) Considering the lack of available information on sea turtles in Iran covering the existing gaps was in high need, specially that there was not any reliable information on their reproduction biology. So, in the past years the important sited were visited regularly and needed information and data almost collected, specially from Sheedvar, Hendorabi, Nakhiloo and ommolkaram Islands Important hawksbill nesting sites in the Gulf, 1: Sheedvar Island: Important hawksbill nesting sites in the Gulf, 1: Sheedvar Island It has nominated as “wild life refuge” and 20th international wetland’ of the country Not subject for habitation Only eastern and northern part have sandy beaches suitable for nesting Adjacent to Lavan Island which has special importance due to oil exploitation It has another importance as a fishing site, resting place for the boats, Doves and ships Waters of Sheedvar are feeding habitats for green turtles Very important nesting site for the birds Shallow waters of Sheedvar with reefs are suitable feeding grounds: Shallow waters of Sheedvar with reefs are suitable feeding grounds Feeding juvenile Green turtles are usual in most parts: Feeding juvenile Green turtles are usual in most parts Important hawksbill nesting sites in the Gulf, 2: Hendorabi Island: Important hawksbill nesting sites in the Gulf, 2: Hendorabi Island With an area of 22.8 sq km Only a few families live there ( about 10) Most part are rocky shores, but there are some small a large sandy beaches suitable for nesting in east, north east and south Some tourism activities supposed to be started? Important Hawksbill nesting sites in the Gulf, 3: Nakhiloo Island: Important Hawksbill nesting sites in the Gulf, 3: Nakhiloo Island With an area of 0.32 sq km No one lives there All around the island has sandy beaches suitable for nesting of turtles Important site for the nesting of bird species( sterna spp) It is part of “Mond Protected Area” Important fishing site and resting place for the fishermen Important Hawksbill nesting sites in the Gulf, 4: Ommolkaram Island: Important Hawksbill nesting sites in the Gulf, 4: Ommolkaram Island With an area of about 0.4 sq km Not inhabited by human Most part of the shores, specially north and south, are suitable for nesting Some occasional green turtle body pits indicates nesting of this species too Important fishing site and resting place for the fishermen It is part of “Mond Protected Area’ too Main nesting sites of Hawksbill turtles in Iran: Main nesting sites of Hawksbill turtles in Iran Other important site for Hawksbill turtles: Other important site for Hawksbill turtles Queshm Island: Largest Island in the area, about 1495 sq km Some parts suitable for the nesting of the turtles It is important feeding ground for the hawksbill too Its another importance is for the mangrove forests Under the control of Qeshm Free Zone Area which had some works on turtles too in the pat years There are some small and large villages and commercially important city in the Island Hengam Island: Adjacent to Quesh Island, with an area of 9.8 sq km There re some small sandy beaches suitable for the nesting of turtles in east and north west It has feeding habitats for the Green turtles too There are some small villages and a small town in the Island Results of studies of the sites, nesting Hawksbill Turtles: Results of studies of the sites, nesting Hawksbill Turtles Nesting Hawksbills: Nesting Hawksbills Results of studies in the sites, nests of Hawksbill turtles: Results of studies in the sites, nests of Hawksbill turtles Results of studies in the sites, Hawksbill hatchlings : Results of studies in the sites, Hawksbill hatchlings Hawksbill Hatchlings in the Sites : Hawksbill Hatchlings in the Sites Main activities on sea turtles in the country: Main activities on sea turtles in the country Sea turtle tagging program initiates for the first time in the country in 2005 by the kind help and support of MOU-IOSEA secretariat. Collecting of basic information on turtles like the nesting females, nests, eggs and hatchlings to cover the existing gaps We are planning to have “Beach cleaning up” project in some of the main sites through MOU-IOSEA programs planning to start conservation activities in some sites( looking for needed budget) Results of tagging program in different sites: Results of tagging program in different sites Nesting in important sites is intensive/ considerable numbers of turtles: Nesting in important sites is intensive/ considerable numbers of turtles Tagged Turtles in The Sites: Tagged Turtles in The Sites Important Sites for Green Turtles: Important Sites for Green Turtles Oman Sea area has the most important nesting and feeding grounds for the Green turtles in the country Nesting of Green turtle recorded for the first time in Iran in 2003, in Cholotr (Mobaraki 2004) The main feeding grounds in the area also identified in the same study The nesting sites are very limited and in some cases small beaches surrounded by cliffs Nesting Green Turtle in Oman Sea Area, Cholotr: Nesting Green Turtle in Oman Sea Area, Cholotr Protection of Marine Turtles in Iran: Protection of Marine Turtles in Iran Nomination of sea turtles as “Endangered animals” of the country There was a fine of about 3,200,000 Rials for each killed turtle which doubled in the past year( 6,400,000 Rials), about $US 700 and also fine for egg collection, about $US 233 for each nominating of the nesting sites as" under management and control Area" like Mond protected area and sheedvar wildlife refuge Monitoring of the sites by DOE guards Main Threatening Factors of sea Turtles in Iran: Main Threatening Factors of sea Turtles in Iran In most parts of the nesting sites egg collection for traditional usage as well as aphrodisiac purposes is usual In some parts turtles harvest for their meat for the same purposes too Different kinds of pollutions are usual, like the debris, oil and light By catch in fishery activities is another important threat, as the turtle habitats are important fishing grounds too Natural predators like the other parts of the world are usual, like the mammals, birds, crabs and insects Density of the body pits in the small beaches prevent hatchlings to reach the sea Mismanagement causes problems in some parts Boat strike is usual and increasing in some parts Different kinds of coastal area development is another threat for the nesting sites and turtles Other natural factors like the erosion is usual in most places, specially in small beaches Entangle in fishing nets: Entangle in fishing nets Dried Green Turtle Eggs: Dried Green Turtle Eggs Poached Nests: Poached Nests Different Kinds of Threat: Different Kinds of Threat Erosion as a natural threat: Erosion as a natural threat International, Regional and Multilateral cooperation: International, Regional and Multilateral cooperation Iran as one of the signatory States of the MOU-IOSEA is working together with other signatory states in related subjects Draft of MOU between Iran DOE and UAE Environmental Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD), for protection of Houbara and Sea turtles, is finalizing. Some cooperative works on turtles and their habitats were suggested (see the items). Annex for the MOU –DOE & EAD: Annex for the MOU –DOE & EAD Both parties shall carry out studies and programs on the conservation and management of sea turtles on: Identification of the main nesting and feeding sites in the area Study on the migration routes by tagging and satellite tracking (by the help of MERC) as well as identification of possible shared populations. Establishment of rearing centers for hatchlings or nursery Banning of any trade and use on sea turtle eggs in the region by public awareness or suitable legal protection Establishment of sub-regional agreements (MOU, working groups. . .) and cooperation with similar international treaties (MOU IOSEA) for the conservation of sea turtles in the area. Conducting any studies for collecting any preliminary information needed for future conservational activities. DoE could provide nests (eggs) or hatchlings for the rearing centers or recovery programs in UAE. Considering that Dr Saif Al ghais had been the regional coordinator of Marine turtle Specialist group (MTSG), he could play essential role in any existing programs, too. Any other comments, changes and complete proposal will be negotiable in case of final agreement. Acknowledgment: Acknowledgment I would like to extend my great thanks to WWF office in UAE and EWS for holding the forum and kind supports. I would like also to thank the coordinator of the Forum, Lisa Perry, and her colleagues for their very kind and considerable helps and cosiderations.