What is it about sea turtles that captures one’s fascination so instantly? These majestic creatures are said to have been on the earth for approximately 100 million years! With dwindling numbers, sea turtle conservation is important to consider when travelling to sandy shoreline areas.
Sea turtles are susceptible to predators. These days however, predators include humans, fishing boats and nets. The poaching of sea turtles is a very serious problem, as is the over abundance of plastic pollution currently in the world’s oceans.
What is sea turtle conservation all about?
Sea turtles play an important role in the marine ecosystems. They help to maintain the sea grass and corals which in turn, provide habitat areas for other marine life. If the sea turtles are allowed to become extinct, the effects will be noticeable in both the marine and shoreline ecosystems.
In turn, preserving Marine ecosystems is of vital importance to the conservation of sea turtles. By ensuring that the natural habitats are pristine and peaceful for migration, nesting and living, we are helping to give these majestic creatures a high quality of life and an opportunity to increase their numbers. Read more about helping marine conservation during Covid-19 by clicking here.
One aspect of the reducing numbers of sea turtles is due to the sensitivity of nesting areas. Noise or light pollution greatly affects the ability of the female sea turtles to nest and often times if the environment is not a peaceful one, the female sea turtle will leave to search for another nesting area, which is said to disrupt the natural schedule of the nesting period and frequently the eggs will be laid at sea resulting in their loss. As the nesting areas for female sea turtles are usually warm sandy beaches, they are also ideal holidaying spots for human tourists. This fact alone creates a conflict and must be addressed and a solution found in order to protect nesting grounds.
There are so many reasons why sea turtle conservation is important!
Some facts about sea turtles
- The female sea turtles return to the same beaches where they hatched as babies to nest.
- Female turtles can travel up to 12 000 km / 7 456 mi to reach said beaches.
- 132 000 sea turtles get caught in fishing nets per annum.
- The oldest sea turtle fossil is said to be 120 million years old!
- Sea turtles can look like they are crying. In fact, they have unique secretion glands which excrete the excess salt through ducts in the corners of their eyes, making it look as though they are having a good cry.
Some sea turtle conservation initiatives
The World Wildlife Fund has an adopt a sea turtle initiative. These symbolic adoptions help to establish a connection between the wellbeing of the sea turtles and the charitable person. The funds are directed into the WWF sea turtle conservation fund which works to reduce the ways in which harm sea turtles. Initiatives such as utilising LED lights fishing nets to help turtles avoid getting trapped in them, to the reduction of waste and plastic pollution in the seas initiatives.
The Oceanic Society, in conjunction with the IUCN-SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group ( a network of sea turtle specialists in more than 70 countries) work together to publish the State of the World’s Sea Turtles program which compiles and publishes relevant research and data regarding the conservation of sea turtles, and which can aid in the conservation initiatives.
How is sea turtle conservation ecotourism?
Engaging in conservation efforts is a great way to spend a day. In noticing the damage done by irresponsible tourism, small coastal communities around the world have begun to establish sea turtle conservation ecotourism initiatives. These initiatives include activities such as taking guided ecotours which allow for the unique opportunity to view the turtles nesting while at the same time practicing the good habits and safe distance to not disturb them.
These types of ecotours, such as the one hosted by the sea turtle conservancy in Florida, utilise the services of the local community which have been trained in how to properly respect the animals and how to give the ecotour by sea turtle conservation specialists. When the local community is able to get involved in ecotourism initiatives and conservation efforts, it benefits the local community on many levels. Not only is profit from the ecotourism directed back into the local community, but the conservation efforts as well have a lasting positive effect on local marine and coastal ecosystems.
Would you be interested to experience a sea turtle conservation ecotour during your next travels?
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