Cultural Conflict Hinders Taiwan’s Green Sea Turtle Conservation

Cultural taboo and inadequate government policy make it incredibly difficult to conserve Taiwan’s Green Sea Turtles.

The News Lens
Date: 2019/10/09
By Dr. Liu Tzu-ming

Photo Credit: CNA

Green Sea Turtles (Chelonia mydas) have long been classified as a globally endangered species due to human disturbances. The turtles are hunted for their meat, eggs, and shells, and their reproduction suffers from the effects of habitat degradation and fragmentation. Artificial light sources hinder the turtles’ return to land for egg laying and interferes with young hatchlings’ movement towards the sea, thereby increasing their mortality rate.

Many conservation measures, such as ecotourism, have been implemented to protect green sea turtles but not all are successful. Some successful international models of conservation were implemented in Taiwan, but the results were not as positive as expected. We find that the conflict of cultural beliefs regarding green sea turtles and the government’s conservation grants scheme is key to this failure.

Green sea turtles are distributed across the northern, eastern, and southern areas of Taiwan, as well as on Lanyu Island and Penghu Islands. However, because of long-term excessive poaching, combined with habitat destruction caused by construction projects, their nesting habitat is limited in Wangan (Penghu Islands) and Lanyu islands.    [FULL  STORY]

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