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Conservation and Society
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Conservation and Society
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Year : 2008  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 208

Marine Turtles of the Indian Subcontinent

Marine Research Foundation, Sabah, Malaysia and IUCN Marine Turtle Specialist Group

Correspondence Address:
Nicolas Pilcher
Marine Research Foundation, Sabah, Malaysia and IUCN Marine Turtle Specialist Group

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Date of Web Publication26-Jun-2009

How to cite this article:
Pilcher N. Marine Turtles of the Indian Subcontinent. Conservat Soc 2008;6:208

How to cite this URL:
Pilcher N. Marine Turtles of the Indian Subcontinent. Conservat Soc [serial online] 2008 [cited 2020 Jan 21];6:208. Available from: http://www.conservationandsociety.org/text.asp?2008/6/2/208/55782

Kartik Shanker and B.C. Choudhury (eds.). Marine Turtles of the Indian Subcontinent. Universities Press (India) Pvt. Ltd., Hyderabad, India. 2006. 415 pp. INR 425 (Paperback). ISBN 81-7371-566-1.

My first thoughts on reading through the Marine Turtles of the Indian Subcontinent were 'stunning; comprehensive and well written, edited and put together'. Later, upon reflection and a much more detailed review, those thoughts still stood firm. This is, simply, a wonderful piece of work. For those dedicated field biologists, conservationists, managers and turtle loving people out there this is a must-read/have book on India. Never before has there been such a comprehensive review of existing literature and particularly that of the grey and hidden form that only exists in reports and unpublished manuscripts. For me, the book was the key to a vast amount of information compiled in India over the last century.

The editors have done a wonderful job of splicing together the often incongruous reports from this vast subcontinent, and have done it in such a way to allow the wonderful personality(ies) of India to percolate through. The authors have excelled at being comprehensive and not over-bearingly so, with up-to-date data sets to reflect current status. The brief history of the turtle story in India provided by the editors themselves up front is far from brief, but serves as a wonderful Executive Summary of sorts to the rest of the book. The spice and flavour were added immediately afterwards by Rom Whitaker in his often witty recollection of one of India's well known turtle trekkers, Satish Bhaskar. I enjoyed the personal insight Rom provided and could see right away what passion could drive people in India to do.

The book comes in the form of an output of a larger United Nations Development Programme-funded project in partnership with the Government of India, and the vast geographical and thematic coverage is testament to the mammoth effort undertaken by all authors involved in producing the book. I was particularly drawn to the reports form often unheard of sites, such as the Lakhshadweep Islands (pp. 119-137, put together by Basudev Tripathy along with the two editors) and proactive initiatives such as working with local communities (Roshni Kutty, pp. 271-289). But it would be unfair in many ways to restrict my comments to a few chapters, given that I found the book to be an immense source of information on all aspects of conservation in India. The book even goes so far as to provide a summary of issues elsewhere on the Indian subcontinent, inviting manuscripts from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan, to round off what is a wonderful compilation.

From general nesting and foraging ground descriptions to conservation approaches, funding issues and concerns, the politics of conservation, bycatch reduction efforts and the wildlife spectacle embodied by the mass nesting arribadas in the state of Orissa, India, this book stands easily alongside the major marine turtle publications of the last two decades.


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