KARWAR: Forest officials have rescued a very rare hawksbill turtle at Devbagh beach. It is a well known fact that Olive Ridley turtles, the one protected under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Act, breed in good numbers on the West Coast. But two other turtle species are sighted here, washed ashore dead or caught in fisherman’s nets, but were never seen alive. However, there is an incident where a rare hawksbill turtle has been rescued by the Forest Department and the same was released into the sea on Tuesday.
“The turtle was rescued at Devbagh beach and was released into the sea immediately. It was released after providing medical care,” said Pramod Naik, Range Forest Officer, Marine and Coastal Ecosystem unit, Karwar.
The turtle, according to the RFO, was rescued from the fishing net immediately. “It was rescued from a fishing nest, but it was not injured.It was tired and scared. We released it within two hours after it was rescued,” said RFO Pramod. The hawksbill turtle is quite a rare turtle and this is the second occasion where this species of turtle has been found in the West Coast.
This turtle is considered as the smallest among the five marine turtles and it is found mostly in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans in abundance. They are also present in small numbers in shallow waters of Andaman and Nicobar islands amid the coral reefs. They grow up to 76 cm in length and weigh up to 100 kg. Not much is known about nesting and sexual maturity, but they mate and breed once in 2-3 years and their nesting behaviour is almost similar with Olive Ridley.
The department has also rescued the Green turtle on several occasions, but this is the first time the hawksbill has been rescued alive. However, no nest of these turtles have been found here other than Olive Ridleys. But the department is hopeful of finding one at the earliest.