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By Pranab Jyoti Ghosh
An idea about saving olive ridley and other endangered turtles:
Olive ridley and many other turtles, which are declared endangered and are disappearing fast, can be saved by artificially farming them. Perhaps this is the only way to save them. Turtles are reptiles have lay eggs in huge numbers. At present, beaches where they lay their eggs are declared as sanctuary. But I think this is not enough. The turtles have other predators than man. Though they are their natural enemies and are parts of the ecosystem, but the existence of turtles are in danger now and we have protect them not only from human being but also from these natural enemies, though not for long, but still for a few years at least. When the no. of turtles will be stabilized again, then it will be feasible to run nature in its own course.

To do so, what is to be done is to collect the eggs of the turtles as many as possible and put them into artificial hatcheries to be hatched artificially. Maximum no. of hatched baby turtles are eaten by predators on their way from the hatching spot to the sea. So after hatching, what to do next is to put them carefully in the sea. Though at the sea, they are still vulnerable to predators but we can expect an increased no. of baby turtles will become adult and their no. will increase much more rapidly in this way rather only declaring the beaches as sanctuary.

The other thing to do is to breed some turtles artificially for meat and other purposes so that local poor fishermen won’t have to hunt down egg laying female turtles. It is a proved fact worldwide, at least for the third world countries, like India, my homeland, that without active participation of local people, any kind of conservation project can’t be successful. The best way local participation in this kind of conservation effort is to make them economically dependent on this turtles. Then they themselves will automatically become the protector of this species. In my thinking, the best way of doing so is making artificial turtle hatcheries. Though I know that some ethical questions will arise, but if we can breed crocodiles artificially, why not turtles? In many countries, endangered reptiles such as crocodiles and snakes were saved in the recent past by artificially farming them. Farming and growing turtles, I think, will be easier because turtles live on a wide range of food than snakes and crocodiles. Crocodiles are farmed for their skin and snakes for their skin and venom. Turtle meat is a delicacy and their shells can be used to make hand crafted art. If it is proved that artificially breeding turtles is more economic than hunting them, very soon the hunting will give way to farming. For that, what the zoologists have to do is to finding ways of successful turtle farming with locally available cheap materials, so that local fishermen and other poor people can afford that farming.
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By Steve
I'm afraid that the part about the poor fishermen won't work: breeding some artificial turtles won't get them money to feed their kids.
By Miika
very cool! it seems to me that the animals that live the longest on are planet are the ones that never see humans or the ones that are usefull to humans........ :-D
By AaronAgassi
Steve wrote:I'm afraid that the part about the poor fishermen won't work: breeding some artificial turtles won't get them money to feed their kids.

Not if they are the ones doing the breeding, not to mention that the plentiful supply of shells for artisanry.
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By Steve
Hm... making animal breeders out of fishermen? I really doubt it. Like always, there would be a big international company taking care of the breeding. The fishermen would have to leave their villages, travel 300 miles to the hatchery and work in a factory. They would send their checks home and visit their wifes and family twice a year, only to bring back some deadly disease they caught with a prostitute in town. We've seen it all before, haven't we?

Ok, well maybe I'm exaggerating. :-D Anyway, all I'm saying is that saving those turtles is definitely worthwhile, but that this idea needs some more input...

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