Virtual Tours: Ascension Island
The Full Tour
Features of Natural Interest
Features of Other Interest, including Cultural
Threats / Problems / Issues
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Features of Natural Interest

Ascension has the second largest breeding population of green turtles Chelonia mydas in the Atlantic and the largest of any sea turtle in the UK Overseas Territories. More than 25,000 nests are laid on a yearly basis. Unfortunately, during the 19th and early 20th centuries, nesting females (the only gender to come ashore) were harvested for meat. This led to a huge depletion of the green turtle population. Harvesting ceased in the 1930s and they are now fully protected under local legislation. The number of nesting turtles has been monitored since 1977 through the collaborative work of visiting academics, local volunteers and more recently, the Ascension Island Government Conservation Department. 

Adult turtles heading to sea after laying eggs.

© Dr Mike Pienkowski
(Features of Natural Interest, 6 of 32 - Slide ref. 606)