After reading an interesting article in November’s National geographic (I think it was November’s issue) I decided to do a follow up by writing this post about sea turtles most at risk!
For more than 100 million years sea turtles have covered vast distances across the world’s oceans, filling a vital role in the balance of marine habitats.
Over the last 200 years, human activities have tipped the scales against the survival of these magnificent marine creatures. They have been slaughtered for their eggs, meat, skin, and shells, populations suffer from poaching and over-exploitation, they also face habitat destruction and most recently covered in the media; accidental capture—known as bycatch—in fishing gear.
Climate change also has an impact on turtles and their nesting sites. It alters sand temperatures, which then affects the sex of hatchlings. Nearly all species of sea turtle are now classified as endangered, with three of the seven existing species being critically endangered.
The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has identified five major hazards to sea turtles:
- Fisheries: Sea turtles virtually everywhere are affected by fisheries, especially longlines, gill nets, and trawls. The most severe of these impacts are death after entanglement, habitat destruction and food web changes.
- Direct Take: Sea turtles and their eggs are killed by people throughout the world for food, and for products including oil, leather and shell.
- Coastal Development: Sea turtle habitats are degraded and destroyed by coastal development. This includes both shoreline and seafloor alterations, such as nesting beach degradation, seafloor dredging, vessel traffic, construction, and alteration of vegetation.
- Pollution: Plastics, discarded fishing gear, petroleum by-products, and other debris harm and kill sea turtles through ingestion and entanglement. Light pollution disrupts nesting behavior and causes hatchling death by leading them away from the sea. Chemical pollutants can weaken sea turtles’ immune systems, making them susceptible to disease.
- Climate change: Climate change will increase the frequency of extreme weather events, result in loss of nesting beaches, and cause other alterations to critical sea turtle habitats and basic oceanographic processes. It may impact natural sex ratios of hatchlings and increase the likelihood of disease outbreaks for sea turtles.
Species at risk include:
○Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas).
○Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta).
○Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii).
○Olive Ridley Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea).
○Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata).
○Flatback sea turtle (Natator depressus).
○Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea).
Read more using the links below…. ⤵️⤵️⤵️⤵️⤵️⤵️⤵️⤵️
What can we do to save the sea turtles?
🌊Become a conscious and responsible seafood consumer by asking where and how your seafood was caught. Choose seafood caught in ways that do not harm or kill turtles. Consult sustainable seafood information networks to learn about how and where your seafood is caught. Buy seafood that have been certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (check out the link below).
🌊Volunteer at a local sea turtle rescue centre, contact your MP, donate to a sea turtle charity, petition for more sustainable fishing methods- let your voice be heard, try and make a difference when and where you can, no action too small is insignificant.
🌊Participate in coastal clean-ups and reduce plastic use to keep our beaches and ocean clean. Trash in the ocean can harm sea turtles and other creatures that live there.
🌊Carry reusable water bottles and shopping bags. Refrain from releasing balloons, they’ll likely end up in the ocean where sea turtles can mistake them for prey and consume them.
🌊Keep nesting beaches dark and safe for sea turtles. Turn off, shield, or redirect lights visible from the beach. Lights disorient hatchling sea turtles and discourage nesting females from coming onto the beach to lay their eggs.
🌊Do not disturb nesting turtles, nests, or hatchlings. Attend organized sea turtle watches that know how to safely observe nesting sea turtles.
🌊Remove recreational beach equipment like chairs, umbrellas, boats at night so sea turtles are not turned away.
🌊Fill in holes and knock down sandcastles before you leave the beach. They can become obstacles for nesting turtles or emerging hatchlings.
🌊Never abandon fishing gear. Hooks, lines, or nets left in the water can entangle and kill sea turtles.
🌊Recycle fishing line and discard your trash on shore in trash receptacles.
🌊Never feed or attempt to feed sea turtles—it is harmful and illegal!
🌊Boaters beware! Sea turtles are commonly found in oceans, bays, sounds, and near shore waters. Remember, turtles have to come up to the surface for air, and they can be difficult to see. Boat strikes are a serious threat to sea turtles, so slow down and steer around them.
Here are some charitable organisations who help sea turtles:
🐟MALDIVIAN SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION PROGRAMME (MSTCP).
🐟SRI LANKA – SEA TURTLE RESCUE AND REHABILITATION.
🐟COZUMEL MARINE TURTLE SALVATION PROGRAM.
🐟THE BARBADOS SEA TURTLE PROJECT.
🐟BORNEO MARINE AND SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION.
🐟SOUTH CAROLINA SEA TURTLE RESCUE PROGRAM.
🐟HAWAI’I WILDLIFE FUND.
🐟NINGALOO TURTLE PROGRAM, EXMOUTH AUSTRALIA.
🐟SEA TURTLE FOUNDATION, AUSTRALIA.
🐟CANADIAN SEA TURTLE NETWORK.
🐟GLOBAL SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION.
🐟WORLD WILDLIFE FUND.
🐟SEA TURTLE FOUNDATION.
🐟SEA TURTLE CONSERVANCY.
🐟TURTLE ISLAND RESTORATION NETWORK.
🐟NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES.
🐟ARCHELEN THE SEA TURTLE PROJECT.
🐟NATIONAL MARINE LIFE CENTRE.
These are just a few examples.
Until next time,