For the nations of the Subcontinent, including Pakistan and India, it is essential to work together not only for the sake of the people of the region but also for the wildlife which depends on action by humans to save it from extinction. Members of a regional task force from Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have made a desperate call at a meeting in Colombo to take measures to stop the decimation of marine turtles, animals that have been around for 200 million years and thrive in the waters of the Subcontinent’s coast, but are today under threat because of pollution, overfishing, the destruction of their habitats, rising temperatures and growing human populations. The taskforce which met in Colombo comprises experts and officials from each country and has already signed a Marine Turtle Memorandum of Understanding, aimed at protecting the migratory species. The gathering in Colombo also provided a rare opportunity for experts from across the region to discuss problems and share experiences. From Pakistan, marine experts pointed out that the Olive Ridley turtle, which had nested on the coast of Karachi for years, had not been spotted making its way to a now polluted and dangerous shore since 2013. The Hawkesbay area is one of the rare places in the world where the turtle, which is still found in waters off Pakistan’s shores, returns annually to build nests and lay eggs. Ensuring the turtles can safely do this is essential to safeguarding their future.
Zulfiqar Ali jahir,