27 August, 2013

How many of Hadhramout's Turtle Species do you know?

Hadhramout: Land of Turtles
In the middle of every year, thousands of turtles land on the beaches of Hadhramout to lay their eggs. It is against the Yemeni law to hunt for turtles, but it is not easy protecting these very adorable creatures, along the very long Hadhramout coastline. Many, are poached and slaughtered for their: eggs, meat and shells. Some people seem to get a lot of fun and pleasure just hanging turtle shells on their walls. Each year, from June to August, the Turtles come. In thousands. To lay eggs on many of Hadharamaut's beaches.

I remember, a few years ago, it was very easy to see the turtles in the waters along the Mukalla sea shore. Many times, I and my family, could see tens of them swimming in the waters very close by; we could almost touch them. They weren't that scared. And not far from the center of Mukalla in Fo'wah and Broom, about ten to thirty kilometers West, hundreds of the turtles could be found laying eggs at nights. It was so easy to find them. Now, that's not as easy as it was. With constant activity along the Mukalla coast line: with more and more boats, more ships, extensive fishing, buildings and the sea being filled up and built up, and constant activity on the beaches - it has become hard to see the turtles close to Mukalla proper. One has to go a little further to see them; even then, it is not easy to find the turtles. The recent oil spill in the waters of Mukalla, only makes matters worst for these very gentle, peaceful and endearing creatures.

I understand, there are about five turtle species: the Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas), the Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), the Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta), Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) and the Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) - within the Gulf of Aden - but the turtles that I see and have seen around Mukalla, are only the Green Sea Turtle and the Hawksbill Turtles. I understand too, all five turtle species fall into the IUCN's either the 'endangered' or 'critically endangered' categories. A few kilometers East of Mukalla, in Dees Ash Shargiyyah and Sharma - some of the most important and best turtle nesting beaches in the Arabian Peninsula are found. Socotra Island, another primary nesting ground for the turtles, is not far off in the sea. Yemen's reefs are some of the richest and most diverse in the Indian ocean, and they provide excellent and ample foraging grounds for the turtles. Learn more about other species of Turtles.

+ The Turtles Of Hadhramout
+ Hadhramaut: The Turtles Are Here
+ Hadhramaut's Turtles Finally Get Attention