Using Photographic Identification To Monitor Sea Turtle Populations At Perhentian Islands Marine Park In Malaysia

Description: 

Perhentian Islands Marine Park is home to foraging and nesting Green Turtles (Chelonia mydas) and Hawksbill Turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) but little information is available other than nesting trends and hatching success. We used photographic identification (photo-ID) methods to identify individuals and to determine their sex ratios, habitat use, and site fidelity. We collected 1,826 sightings between 2009 and 2015 from conservation projects (998 in-water sightings, 184 nesting sightings) and members of the public (639 in-water sightings, five nesting sightings), and used NaturePatternMatch (NPM) software and manual visual matching to identify individuals. We identified 120 (minimum) to 131 (maximum) individual Green Turtles, including a maximum of 17 males, 58 females and 56 turtles of unknown sex from both in-water and nesting beach sightings. We identified 20 (minimum) to 23 (maximum) individual Hawksbills of unknown sex from in-water sightings. Green Turtles were sighted most frequently at seagrass beds and Hawksbills only among coral reefs. We resighted 47 Greens and eight Hawksbills between one and 144 times (mean = 23.1 times). Nesting Greens also showed strong site fidelity, although the nesting home range for some individuals included different beaches on adjacent islands within approximately 30 km. We identified boat-related injuries in eight turtles and mortalities of two turtles. Our study suggests that photographs from conservation projects and members of the public were appropriate for photo-ID to provide information on the turtle populations in the Perhentian Islands Marine Park.



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Author(s)Long SL
Azmi NA
Published Date2017
Publication LanguageEnglish
TypeScientific Article
CMS InstrumentIOSEA Marine Turtles
Sourcehttp://www.herpconbio.org/Volume_12/Issue_2/Long_Azmi_2017.pdf

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