The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) has successfully tracked tagged endangered green turtles (Chelonian mydas) through satellites from Southern Sri Lanka to the Gulf of Mannar
Biosphere Reserve, a protected area off
Tamil Nadu (TN).
Partnering with the Turtle Conservation Project (TCP) and Tamil Nadu Department of Wildlife Conservation, MCS followed the turtles tagged with instruments that sends a beep to a satellite every time the turtle surfaces from Rekawa Turtle Sanctuary in Sri Lanka.
Interestingly, of the 6 tagged turtles, 3 swam 500 kilometers and proceeding to Mannar while another is going up the West coast. According to MCS, these turtles are herbivorous as adults and can grow to up to 1.5 m, weighing up to 230 kg and mature between 20 and 50 years.
Rekawa, on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, hosts 5 species of marine turtles nest here; the green turtle is the most commonly encountered one. While the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve was South and South East Asia's first marine protected area it is also seeing dredging operation in a effort to create a new canal to reduce shipping times through the Palk Straits. Environmentalists have decried the project but the Ministry of Shipping and Transportation, with the quiet collusion of the Ministry of Environment, is bent on getting the project done. None of the environmental reports by Government agencies have been made public.