The sea turtle, a charismatic reptile that is as old as the disnosaurs, is now in trouble. Six out of seven species of sea turtles are either threatened or endangered. Sea turtles become bycatch, coastal development destroys nesting and feeding sites, they die from eating our trash, they are hunted for their meat, eggs, and shells, and warming temperatures are causing uneven gender ratios that lead to less breeding. This initiative aims to come up with solutions to these threats, and educate the public about this keystone species.
Six of the seven species of sea turtles are threatened or endangered. Every year, hundreds of sea turtles are killed by due to human actions and lifestyles. Some of the biggest threats include ingestion of marine debris, poaching and illegal trade, bycatch, pollution, unsustainable coastal development projects, and global warming.
Even though these creatures have been around for millions of years, they could have had no way to adapt to the current threats of being caught in fishing gear and drowning because they can’t get air. Coastal developments can destroy nesting sites, ruin coral reefs where they feed, and the lights from houses or buildings on shore can lure hatchlings away from the ocean and put them at risk of being preyed upon. Plastic bags in the ocean sometimes look like a delicious jellyfish to a turtle, and if consumed the bags can block their intestines and lead to death. Some countries even hunt the turtles for their meat, eggs, and shells. Global warming is also playing a part in unequal gender ratios for sea turtles. A sea turtle’s sex is decided by temperature, and warmer temperatures lead to a turtle becoming female. Because there are more females than males now, breeding becomes more difficult.
Our Sea Turtle Initiative provides grants to projects that focus on better managing our beaches and coastal ecosystems, reducing pollution and marine debris, choosing reusable bags when we go shopping, providing fisherman with turtle-excluder devices and other safer fishing gear, and addressing the consequences of climate change, sea level rise, and ocean acidification.
Through our work we have been able to save thousands of turtles, protect tens of thousands of sea turtle eggs, and educate many about this keystone species by providing support for the annual International Sea Turtle Symposium.
Sea turtles are some of the most charismatic animals in the ocean, and some of the most ancient, existing as far back as the age of the dinosaurs. Even after surviving millions of years, they are still threatened and endangered and need our help. Please donate to our Sea Turtle Initiative to make sure that the sea turtles survive for many years to come.