DISTRIBUTION OF SEA TURTLE NESTING BEACHES AND FEEDING GROUNDS AND THEIR T H REATS FOR THEIR CONSERVATION IN THE COLOMBIAN CARIBBEAN
Between June and October 2002, six field assistants covered the Colombian Caribbean seashore gathering morphological, biotic and socio-cultural information, by direct observations and interviews with the local communities and authorities. From 1,650 km of Caribbean seashore, 181 beaches (730 km), are visited by one or all sea turtle species to nest or feed in surrounding grounds. Species distribution varied along the different regions of the Colombian Caribbean; however, there was a tendency of some species for specific ecosystems. Green turtles (Chelonia mydas) were most often found in the central Guajira, where sea grasses are most abundant, and hawksbills (E retmochelys imbricata) were most abundant on the coral reefs areas around San Bernardo, Rosario, Fuerte and Tortuguilla islands and the San Andrés cays. Though there was no sea turtle marking or individual counting, data was good enough to establish relative abundance categories as rare, common, and abundant. These categories, along with the also categorized identified threats, allowed me to make regional level recommendations for the conservation of sea turtles in the Caribbean coast of Colombia.
Sea turtles; Colombian Caribbean; Nesting beaches; Threats; Conservation
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