Sea turtles – facts and issues

Sea turtles facts and issues

Photo by Dominique Nelson-Esch from Pexels

World Sea Turtle Day is celebrated on 16th June. Here are some facts and issues about sea turtles.

Sea turtles have existed on Earth for the last 100 million years. 

Their size could range from 70 cm to 180 cm, their weight from 40 kg to 500 kg!

They have one of the longest lifespans in the animal kingdom, researchers think some turtles could even be hundreds of years old.

They are big travellers and can migrate long distances, although females prefer to nest every year on the same beach.

The carapace is the upper shell of the turtle. The inner layer of the shell has about 60 bones that include portions of the backbone and the ribs, meaning the turtle cannot crawl out of its shell.

Six out of seven species of marine turtle are threatened with extinction due to human actions and lifestyle. 

Photos by Jolo Diaz from Pexels

How people are affecting the life of sea turtles?

  • One in two sea turtles has ingested plastic – often mistaking it for food such as jellyfish. Plastic pollution is the biggest treat for them.
  • 1 in 1,000 marine turtle eggs survives to adulthood. With beaches full of litter and coastal development it is harder for turtles to nest and for hatchlings (Baby turtles) to reach the sea.
  • Turtle eggs and meat are traded illegally. 
  • They get trapped in nets, plastic injuring them.
  • Global warming: rising sea levels can erode nesting beaches; Increasing temperatures determines the birth of more females instead of an equal proportion of males / females and cause coral bleaching that is the habitat for hawksbill turtles.
  • Turtleshell Trade: People use Hawksbill turtle shells as decorations or turn them into products like jewellery and other crafts.
  • Accidental capture: ‘bycatch’ in fishing gear.

Not only are sea turtles in danger, but also tortoises. The Pinta giant tortoise of the Galápagos became extinct in 2012 with the death of world-famous tortoise Lonesome George.

What Can You Do to Save Sea Turtles?

Learn what actions you can take to help save sea turtles by clicking on the link above.

If you live in an urban area far from the sea you could just be more mindful. Do thorough plastic recycling at home and try to avoid buying single-use plastics.

Your synthetic clothes also release microplastics when washed in the washing machine so it is better if you get a filter or a Guppyfriend bag.

The use of chemical products harm marine sea life so you could ditch detergents in your home or self-care products. You can use eco alternatives by making your own toothpaste or lemon and vinegar detergent just as Ludo often does.

Let’s make an origami turtle!

So, these are even better if you use old magazines or other bits of unused paper as Ludo has done.

[References: https://www.seeturtles.org/sea-turtles-threats https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/sea-turtle
The Turtle Extinction Crisis]

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