Why Are Sea Turtles Endangered And What Can We Do To Help?
Seven species of sea turtles call Earth’s oceans home. While sea turtles do spend most of their time at sea, they need to come ashore to nest. Unfortunately, human activity is pushing these species to the point of extinction.
With endangered sea turtles playing such an important role in marine ecosystems, a serious effort is needed to save sea turtles. In this post, we are going to look at some of the reasons why sea turtles are endangered and what can be done to save them.
WHEN DID SEA TURTLES BECOME ENDANGERED
Sea turtles have faced threats from human activities for centuries, but their populations have significantly declined in the past century, pushing them to the brink of extinction. The exact timing for when sea turtles became endangered varies by species, but the global conservation status of sea turtles became alarming in the 20th century, with all seven species listed as threatened or endangered by the 1970s and 1980s.
WHY ARE SEA TURTLES ENDANGERED?
Sea turtles face numerous threats that contribute to their endangered status, including habitat loss due to coastal development, illegal trade of turtle parts and eggs, bycatch in fishing gear, pollution, particularly plastic waste, and the impacts of climate change. These factors have significantly reduced their populations and put them at risk of extinction.
To protect these vital marine species, conservation efforts, stricter fishing regulations, and a reduction in plastic usage are essential. Supporting organizations like the Sea Turtle Conservancy, a Fahlo partner and impactful organization working to protect endangered sea turtles and their habitats, is crucial in the fight to save these ancient mariners of the ocean.
Let’s dive into each of these reasons more closely for why sea turtles are endangered.
Sea turtles rely on beaches for laying eggs and nesting. Along with beach erosion, coastal development is disrupting and destroying this key habitat for sea turtle nesting. As humans build homes and attractions near the shore, turtles lose vital nesting grounds. Additionally, activities like driving on beaches and lighting near beaches can pose a threat to sea turtles and their hatchlings.
If we are going to save endangered sea turtles, efforts must be made to restore and protect beaches. Coastal development must be done in a way that protects the habitat for sea turtles. We also need to support efforts to restore the beaches where they nest and limit beach activities that could be harmful to nesting females, hatchlings and eggs.
THE TURTLE TRADE
Sea Turtles and their eggs are still harvested for human consumption. Adult sea turtles are also hunted for their shells. Along with that, fishermen accidentally catch thousands of sea turtles every year. When you combine these activities, it is unsustainable and it will cause some of these species to go extinct.
Supporting organizations like World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) is one of the best ways to protect sea turtles from further endangerment and extinction. These organizations study sea turtles and the effects of the turtle trade. They also work with local communities to raise awareness and run programs that protect sea turtles.
Pollution is another issue for those working to address all of the reasons why sea turtles are endangered. Plastic debris washes out to sea and it results in the death of turtles and other marine animals. Turtles often mistake the plastic debris for food and then swallow it and choke. They can also get tangled in discarded fishing gear and die as a result.
If you want to help protect sea turtles, you should reduce the amount of single-use plastic you use. Many single-use plastics have eco-friendly alternatives. You could also learn about plastics and the available alternatives to educate and encourage others to make the change as well.
Relying on both sea and land habitats, the effects of climate change are expected to have a devastating impact on endangered sea turtle populations. Notably, rising sea levels and increased beach erosion will further reduce the vital nesting grounds sea turtles rely on.
Reducing your carbon footprint is the best way to protect sea turtles from the effects of climate change. Take steps to cut carbon emissions produced by your lifestyle and support products and programs that are designed to fight climate change.
HOW CAN WE HELP SEA TURTLES FROM BEING ENDANGERED
Contributing to sea turtle conservation is one of the best ways to help if you want to protect endangered sea turtles from the many threats they face. At Fahlo, we partner with the Sea Turtle Conservancy to help them raise money.
We sell our Journey Bracelet as a part of our partnership with the STC. With each sale, a portion of the proceeds go to the STC to help them in their mission to study and protect endangered sea turtles. Along with the bracelet, you also get a sea turtle you can track. The tracking is done in cooperation with the STC and we use their sea turtle tracking data.
If you are interested in learning more about sea turtles and the threats they face, we encourage you to go to the Sea Turtle Conservancy website.