Did you know that sea turtles have been living on this planet together with the dinosaurs? About seven different species of sea turtles have graced the ocean and sea waters for almost 110 years already. But, for years, the destruction of nesting and feeding habitats are already taking a severe toll on the population of sea turtles.
Perhaps you're aware that a turtle's life is filled with danger. What's worse is that threats to sea turtles are not from natural predators but due to the increased pressure on human presence. In today's blog, you will know the reasons why sea turtles are endangered and get tips on how you're going to help them. Through this, we could prevent harming these God-given creatures and see them live longer.
Why Do Sea Turtles Matter?
One of the fundamental connections in the marine ecosystem is the sea turtles. They help in maintaining the health of coral reefs and seagrass beds as they rely on valuable species, such as lobster, shrimp, tuna, and of course, sea turtles.
Sea turtles are examples of reptiles who live on earth and have already traveled the seas for more than one hundred years. That said, sea turtles have their significance and value to tourism.
What are the Threats that Make Sea Turtles Become Endangered?
We all know that sea turtles travel through land and sea. They swim in thousands of ocean miles during their lifetime. Sea turtles even wait for decades until they reproduce and return to the same beaches where they were born to lay their eggs.
So why are they endangered? In this section, you will understand why sea turtles are endangered.
Thousands of sea turtles are caught in shrimp nets accidentally. It happens all the time, whether it be in fishing gill nets or longline hooks every day, worldwide. That said, sea turtles would be considered fisheries' bycatch, where animals like sea turtles were caught accidentally in nets instead of other species.
Furthermore, incidental catch through fishing gear is one of the threats to many sea turtles. Most especially the greens, loggerheads, and leatherbacks, which happen to be endangered. This kind of threat is increasing as the activity develops.
The habitats of sea turtles are destroyed and degraded by the development of the coast. It includes seafloor and shoreline alterations like seafood dredging, nesting beach degradation, construction, vessel traffic, and vegetation changes.
And since coastal development is uncontrolled, it goes along with human activities that could damage the nesting of sea turtles worldwide. Such an example is about the lights from buildings and roads that would disorient the hatchlings from the ocean.
Illegal Trade and Overharvesting
Sea turtles remain to be harvested for human consumption and trades. Eggs and turtle meats are the source of income and food for people worldwide. Millions of sea turtles are lost this way every single day. Others would tend to kill sea turtles for religious ceremonies and medicine. It instantly destroys populations of sea turtles, making them endangered in this world.
If pollution can destroy human beings, so are the animals. Sea turtles don't know whatever they are eating. They sometimes mistake floating plastic garbage for small fishes or jellyfish. If this happens, they could choke on them when they're eating them. These circumstances are dangerous and could cause the death of a sea turtle.
Another example would be the discarded or lost gears used for fishing; the ghost gear; may entangle sea turtles to drown. It may also prevent the turtles from feeding themselves, as well as preventing them from swimming. Oil spills from ships may also poison the fishes and sea turtles of all ages. Furthermore, the garbage on the sea and beaches may trap the hatchlings and stop them from reaching the ocean.
The stages of a sea turtle's life can be affected due to changes in the environment's temperature. Even the sex of the offspring is affected by these warm temperatures that may disrupt the typical ratios and result in fewer make hatchlings.
Furthermore, the warm temperature of the sea surface may lead to the loss of feeding ground for sea turtles. On the other hand, the increasing storms and rise of sea level may destroy the nesting sea and destroy it.
How Can Humans Help Save Sea Turtles from Extinction?
Humans, as we are, can always help sea turtles thrive and survive. We should start it within ourselves, and the rest will follow. Here are some tips on the things we should do to help sea turtles.
End Demands for Turtle Shell Products
When you want to enter a business, make sure it won't affect a turtle's life. For example, you should not patronize souvenirs made from endangered sea turtle shells. Avoid buying or selling these products.
Prevent Throwing Plastic Garbage into the Ocean
As much as possible, start reducing plastic waste within yourself and tell others to do the same. Having plastic wastes in the ocean may affect sea turtles and other aquatic wildlife. Encourage others to use reusable water bags, bottles, straws and recycle plastics if possible.
Take Care of Sea Turtles in the Water
Whenever you see a sea turtle, avoid crowding, feeding, and touching them. This is to prevent stressing them that may lead to illness and death.
Avoid Using Chemicals in Water
With this, you have to choose the right sunscreen to use. Sunscreens have chemical contents that may pollute sea turtle's habitats and coral reefs. If you travel and go scuba diving, look for brands that come with "Reef Friendly" labels and avoid "oxybenzone" that may pollute the sand where turtles usually nest.
Reduce Carbon Footprint
Climate change may affect our coral reefs that are vital for any sea turtle's survival. A warm atmosphere may skew the sex ratios in newborn turtles. It changes the distribution and abundance of prey and erodes nesting places—different practice ways to lessen the carbon footprint by using public transportation and renewable energy.
Donate and Support Ocean Conservation Organizations
By donating, you can help save the ocean, especially sea turtles, in your little ways. You are working with these organizations to protect not only sea turtles but also other ocean wildlife.
Because of what's happening in our world today and some human activities that affect the ocean and wildlife, sea turtles nowadays face dangers and threats. But it's never too late to prevent and make things right.
In everything mentioned in this blog, I hope you now realize how things could harm the sea turtles and why sea turtles are endangered. May you keep in mind all of this and follow the things to do to save them.
You can also help by supporting our campaign to protect the sole habitat of sea turtles and other marine life. Here at ATOLEA, part of our profit goes to Ocean conservation charities that aims to preserve marine habitat.
So check out our lovely and elegant collection of Ocean-inspired jewelry from ATOLEA, and help us give back to our Ocean. We are sure you will love our unique pieces!