Our May 2020 issue features a special section on sea turtle conservation, with an accompanying Editorial by Brendan Godley et al. and a Briefly spotlight highlighting some of the latest news on these marine reptiles. The issue also includes a section that explores people’s attitudes and intentions towards a variety of mammals.

Find out more about this issue’s contents, including our Editor’s picks, below.

Sea Turtle Conservation

  • Tracking foraging green turtles in the Republic of the Congo: insights into spatial ecology from a data poor region – Metcalfe et al.
  • Assessing the effect of recreational scallop harvest on the distribution and behaviour of foraging marine turtles – Wildermann et al.
  • Conservation importance of previously undescribed abundance trends: increase in loggerhead turtle numbers nesting on an Atlantic island – Laloë et al.
  • Protecting nests of the Critically Endangered South Pacific loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta from goanna Varanus predation – Madden Hof et al.
  • Estimates of marine turtle nesting populations in the south-west Indian Ocean indicate the importance of the Chagos Archipelago – Mortimer et al.

Behind the Cover

Globally, sea turtles are considered threatened throughout their range and conservation practitioners are increasingly investing resources in marine protected areas to protect key life history stages and critical habitats, including foraging grounds, nesting beaches and inter-nesting areas. Empirical data on the distribution of these habitats and/or the spatial ecology and behaviour of individuals of many sea turtle populations are often lacking, undermining conservation efforts, particularly along the Atlantic coast of Africa. Habitat use by tracked green turtles at a foraging ground in Loango Bay, Republic of the Congo, revealed that core areas of habitat use and occupancy for a wide range of size and age classes were restricted to shallow waters adjacent to Pointe Indienne in Loango Bay, where the Congolese government intends to create a marine conservation zone to protect sea turtles. Read the full article here. (Photograph © Chai Seamaker/Shutterstock)


Reflections on sea turtle conservation – Brendan J. Godley et al.

‘Why do sea turtles garner such intense interest? The answer is visceral: they are widely loved! A cryptic life cycle spent mostly out of view lends a sense of mystery that makes them special. Yet, these large animals are highly accessible at an extremely vulnerable time, when females emerge on sandy beaches at night to lay eggs, before disappearing again into the oceans. Being nocturnal, they provide us the adventure of going out in the dark on secluded beaches to find them. Plus, the hatchlings are cute, and releasing them into the sea must be one of the most engaging activities that people can do with a protected species. To mark World Sea Turtle Day on 16 June 2020, we—conservation scientists working across the oceans on this small yet well-studied group of seven species—reflect on their conservation.’

All articles mentioned in the Editorial are freely available in our Virtual Issue.

The Bhutan Takin Budorcas whitei. Photo: Dimitri Houtteman

Attitudes and Intentions

  • Local attitudes to the proposed translocation of blue sheep Pseudois nayaur to Sagarmatha National Park, Nepal – Hanson et al.
  • Underlying social attitudes towards conservation of threatened carnivores in human-dominated landscapes – Zorondo-Rodríguez et al.
  • Local knowledge and attitude towards the Vulnerable Bhutan takin Budorcas whitei among residents living within its seasonal range – Sangay et al.
  • Human–wildlife coexistence: attitudes and behavioural intentions towards predators in the Maasai Mara, Kenya – Broekhuis et al.

Editor’s picks

  • Distinct positions underpin ecosystem services for poverty alleviation – Howe et al.
  • Shifted baselines and the policy placebo effect in conservation – Lovell et al.
  • Are pioneering coyotes, foxes and jackals alien species? Canid colonists in the changing conservation landscape of the Anthropocene – Somsen & Trouwborst
  • Leopard Panthera pardus density in southern Mozambique: evidence from spatially explicit capture–recapture in Xonghile Game Reserve – Strampelli et al.

A leopard Panthera pardus resting in a tree.

Conservation News

  • New hope for the Hainan gibbon: formation of a new group outside its known range – Chan et al.
  • Conserving Meconopsis smithiana, a Critically Endangered plant species in Yunnan, China – Li et al.
  • Key skills for future aquatic scientists in Latin America: academic capacity building through the CORRIENTE XXI project – Di Nitto et al.
  • 21st Sharjah International Conservation Forum for Arabia’s Biodiversity – Seddon et al.


Emma joined the Oryx team in 2018, having previously completed a BSc in Geography at the University of Sussex and an MSc in Conservation Science at Imperial College London. She has a keen interest in marine conservation and has experience working on sea turtle, coral reef, and tropical fish monitoring projects. Her previous research includes an ethological study on the impact of human enrichment on the welfare of captive giant Pacific octopus, and an investigation into the barriers to increased conservation involvement in European zoos.