Above is a tweet posted recently by Sea Turtle Conservancy in Gainesville Florida. The responses to this tweet illustrate that this is what they find all over the globe when rehabilitating sea turtles. Marine pollution is only one of the many man-made challenges that sea turtles are facing. Some other challenges are:
Believe it or not, many coastal communities still consume turtle eggs and meat. Mainly in Central America and Asia, people are poaching turtles for food and for trade.
Another one that is hard to believe, people hunt turtles and illegally trade their shells for jewelry and other items. Even though sea turtles are endangered, there is still a large demand for these items on the black market.
Here’s an issue that takes some educating to fix. Female sea turtles nest on dark beaches. If a beach is populated with hotels and restaurants that are well lit, a female sea turtle won’t nest there. Often they will go to a portion of the beach that is dark, but not great for nesting.
Junk that is dropped into the ocean is harmful for turtles. Sometime they’ll think some trash is food and it will cause digestive problems. Water pollution also messes with the entire ecosystem of the ocean by killing the animal and plant life.
Commercial fishing operations use advanced mechanisms to capture lots of fish at one time. If a turtle, or any other endangered species, gets captured in their traps or nets, there is almost no chance of survival.
Climate change affects everything. As for turtles, melting ice leads to ocean levels rising, and nesting beaches disappearing. Stronger storms also add to the beaches eroding leaving no place for a turtle to come back and nest.
There are many things we can do right now to help protect sea turtles, and awareness is the first step.