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Saving olive ridleys of the Indian Ocean

Richard Aspinall talks to Martin Stelfox from the Olive Ridley project about protecting one of the world's smallest turtles from 'ghost fishing' in the MaldivesOne of the world's smallest turtle (some sources claim smallest is Kemp's ridley) is also the most abundant, yet to me, it seems to be the hardest to find! I've dived on reefs across the tropics, with camera in hand, and have yet to encounter a single olive ridley. I've seen scores of hawksbills and greens, and even a few loggerheads, but the olive ridley, with its distinctive heart-shaped shell is an animal I've only come across in rescue centres. Is there a reason why turtles are facing different threats, based upon their species? Or is it more complicated than that? I reached out to Martin Stelfox, Founder of the Olive Ridley project (ORP)."Olive ridleys are extremely rare to encounter when snorkelling or diving," Stelfox told me, and I couldn't help but agree, they are notable by their absence on the Maldivian reefs, so beloved of holidaymakers and researchers alike. Green turtles, such as the population at a wellknown diving spot called Kuredu Caves, are easily studied and even part of the ORP ID programme. Each turtle has a unique set of markings on the cheek and carapace, scuba divers can upload their turtle photos to add new individuals to the list and, get to name them too. Seeing greens or hawksbills while diving in the Maldives is pretty much the norm. The olives are much harder to find. Continue reading...
Zdroj: The Guardian

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