In 2006, the IOSEA Marine Turtle MoU Secretariat published the first of a series of assessments of the conservation status of marine turtles found in the IOSEA region. The Assessment of the conservation status of the leatherback turtle in the Indian Ocean and South-East Asia, compiled by Hamann et al., provided a comprehensive review of the available information and offered insightful recommendations to address gaps in knowledge and practical conservation/research actions.
In preparation for the Sixth Meeting of IOSEA Signatory States, held in Bangkok in January 2012, the Secretariat considered it useful to try to identify activities that had been undertaken over the last five years to close some of the gaps identified in 2006 in relation to biological, management and other issues.
Such an update would benefit from first-hand knowledge of IOSEA Advisory Committee members, from information readily available from personal contacts with leatherback turtle experts working in the countries concerned, and possibly information contained in recently published or unpublished papers.
Dr. Ronel Nel (Chair, IOSEA Western Indian Ocean – Marine Turtle Task Force) kindly offered to take on the challenge of communicating with interested partners and compiling the available information in the present document, which has been further edited by the Secretariat. We hope you agree that the exercise has been useful and very informative, demonstrating areas of progress in leatherback conservation in the IOSEA region over the past five years.
At the same time, many important gaps in knowledge and basic conservation/research action remain. The recommendations section from the 2006 assessment contained some excellent suggestions – both specific and general – for necessary follow-up work. These have been reproduced in Appendix 1 of the present document and are further supplemented with some simple project concepts outlined in Section 7. It is hoped that a few of these ideas might be developed further and funded with existing or new IOSEA resources, and/or with matching funds sought elsewhere.
This 2012 update of the state of leatherback conservation in the IOSEA region is arguably the most comprehensive assessment currently available, but it remains incomplete. Some researchers may have been overlooked inadvertently or were impossible to contact. Some may be withholding information for publications that hopefully will materialise in the future; while others may not recognise the value of contributing to a collective initiative, preferring instead to concentrate on their own individual projects. In any case, we are very grateful to everyone who has contributed valuable information and we remain hopeful that, through this modest publication, more researchers working with leatherback turtles in the region will be encouraged to participate in the next update in the years ahead.
Bangkok, October 2012
Click to download the Assessment of Leatherback Conservation in the IOSEA Region - 2012 Update (available only as a PDF file).
Note: Hard copies of the original (2006) Leatherback Assessment are still available from the Secretariat, upon request, and a PDF of the full report can also be downloaded here.