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Endangered Species Research

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ESR 3:273-282 (2007)  -  DOI:

Mayotte Island: another important green turtle nesting site in the southwest Indian Ocean

Jérôme Bourjea1,*, Julie Frappier2, Mireille Quillard3, Stéphane Ciccione4, David Roos5, George Hughes6, Henri Grizel1

1Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la Mer (Ifremer) de La Réunion, Rue Jean Bertho, BP 60, 97 822 Le Port Cedex, La Réunion, France
2Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la Mer (Ifremer) de Nouvelle-Calédonie, Station de Koné, BP 2059, 98846 Nouméa Cedex, Nouvelle-Calédonie, France
3Conseil Général de Mayotte, Observatoire des Tortues Marines, Direction de l’Environnement et du Développement Durable, BP 101, 97600 Mamoudzou, Mayotte, France
4Kelonia, l’observation des tortues marines de La Réunion, BP 40, 97898 Saint Leu Cedex, La Réunion, France
5Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la Mer (Ifremer), Avenue Jean Monnet, BP171, 34203 Sète, France
611 Swainson’s Lane, Amber Valley, Howick 3290, South Africa

ABSTRACT: Situated in the north of the Mozambique Channel, Mayotte is the easternmost island of the Comoros Archipelago. From 1998 to 2005, Grande Saziley beach was monitored daily for green turtle Chelonia mydas nesting activity. Track surveys were monitored daily on 5 other adjacent beaches. Although nesting occurs throughout the year, nesting seasonality begins at the end of the wet season and intensifies during the dry season to reach an average nesting peak in June. In order to estimate the number of females nesting in the Saziley site and population trends over the study period, incubation success and number of nests per female and per season were estimated at 0.77 (±0.05 SD) and 3.03 (±0.37) respectively. With an average of 1545 nesting turtles per year (±439), the change in nesting numbers over the study period was so small that the population can be regarded as stable, with an estimated annual mean growth rate of 0.912, confirmation that this population is both stable and in good health. Added support for this argument is demonstrated by the fact that the annual carapace size distribution of nesting females is stable, meaning that the nesting green turtle population of Mayotte is not ageing or rejuvenating. After due consideration of data on other nesting sites in the southwest Indian Ocean, the data from Mayotte emphasizes the fact that the green turtle is not an endangered species in this region. Even if it is still illegally exploited and alterations occur in their different habitats, the green turtle populations of this region seem to have successfully survived all threats during the past century.

KEY WORDS: Chelonia mydas · Population assessment · Seasonality · Nesting trend

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Cite this article as: Bourjea J, Frappier J, Quillard M, Ciccione S, Roos D, Hughes G, Grizel H (2007) Mayotte Island: another important green turtle nesting site in the southwest Indian Ocean. Endang Species Res 3:273-282.

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