From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Giant Leatherback Turtle
Mains level : Not Much
Proposals for tourism and port development in the Andaman and Nicobar (A&N) Islands has left conservationists worried over the fate of some of the most important nesting populations of the Giant Leatherback turtle.
What is the news?
- There is concern that at least three key nesting beaches — two on Little Andaman Island and one on Great Nicobar Island — are under threat due to mega “development” plans announced in recent months.
- These include NITI Aayog’s ambitious tourism vision for Little Andaman and the proposal for a mega-shipment port at Galathea Bay on Great Nicobar Island.
Giant Leatherback Turtle
IUCN status: Vulnerable
- The largest of the seven species of sea turtles on the planet and also the most long-ranging, Leatherbacks are found in all oceans except the Arctic and the Antarctic.
- Within the Indian Ocean, they nest only in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the A&N Islands.
- They are also listed in Schedule I of India’s Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, according it the highest legal protection.
- The population in A&N Islands is among the most important colonies of the Leatherback globally.
About Galathea Bay
- The Galathea Bay is adjacent to Galathea National Park in Great Nicobar Island.
- It was earlier proposed as a wildlife sanctuary in 1997 for the protection of turtles and was also the site of a long-term monitoring programme.
- The monitoring was stopped after the tsunami devastation of 2004, but it provided the first systematic evidence of numbers and importance of these beaches.