Analysis of marine turtle strandings (Reptilia: Testudine) occurring on coast of Bahia State, Brazil
This study provides an analysis of the occurrence and the spatial and temporal distribution of marine turtle strandings found in the south of the State of Bahia. Data was collected between January 2006 and June 2008. This study covers an area of 220 km of the southern coast of Bahia State (northeastern Brazil), and spatial analyses were made considering data collected in three bases suported by Petrobras-Petróleo Brasileiro S/A distributed in the area. The records were sorted according to month and year, species, age group and sex. A total of 260 stranding were reported: 183 of Chelonia mydas (74.1%), the most frequent species. The highest number of strandings was recorded in Gamboa do Morro Base. Juveniles presented the highest densities, but no differences between adults and small juveniles were detected. Males were more frequently stranded in Gamboa do Morro Base, while females were more frequent in Ilhéus Base. An increase in the number of stranding between 2006 and 2008 was noted; moreover, the months with more records were January, February, March, October and December. The number of stranding events was discontinuously distributed in the study area. This study also demonstrated the usefulness of implement different strategies of recording marine turtle strandings: direct monitoring efforts (patrol) in remote beaches and educational campaigns applied on beaches frequented by tourists. This study demonstrated that, despite spatial nearby, the three bases attend independent biological systems and show different stranding dynamics, thus different conservancy actions should be implemented in order to improve the knowledge on natural history of sea-turtles in the southern coast of Bahia State.