project review

Watched like a Hawksbill

Review submitted by Jyot Jabbal
Review date 19 Jul 2010


Latest News from the field!

During the last few months, the Hawksbill Turtle, a critically endangered species found primarily in tropical reef habitats, has been sighted on several separate occasions in the Bay of Antsiranana, Madagascar. Little is known about the behaviour of these animals, but our marine researchers have observed them to be wary of divers and quick to get away when approached! Hawksbills’ diet consists largely of certain species of sponges. This unique feeding preference is thought to promote diversity in the reef as it encourages settlement of other benthic organisms.

Also spotted in the area was the Green Turtle. The turtles were observed breathing at the water surface and grazing, near and around camp. As herbivores, they are distinct from other turtle species, and their preference for seagrass and algae signifies the importance of maintaining an ecological balance of benthic cover. However, the turtles are threatened by disruption of nesting sites, stress from human fishing practices and poaching. Furthermore, as they are selective feeders, their food sources also have to be monitored.

The presence of species like the Hawksbill and Green Turtle, which are highly dependant on the reef habitat, is a positive sign for our Frontier team. The perseverance of these charismatic species in the bay is also ideal for engaging public and investor support for preservation and study; and their persistence indicates that the bay of Antsiranana remains a viable habitat to support these populations.

Jyot Jabbal
Research and Development Intern


Read more about the Madagascar Marine Conservation and Diving project.