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May 23rd is World Turtle Day! If you love sea turtles and tortoises as much as we do, take a look at all the ways you can help ‘shellabrate’ them below!
Image: Kjorgen / Canva
3 Ways To Help Turtles On World Turtle Day
World Turtle Day was created by American Tortoise Rescue; a non-profit organisation established in 1990 by Susan Tellem and Marshall Thompson. It’s a day to celebrate all turtle and tortoise species and recognise the growing threats that they face. Here’s three ways to help turtles on World Turtle Day:
Keep our beaches clean. Leaving plastic waste like water bottles, plastic bags, balloon debris, and fishing line on the beach can endanger sea turtles. This is because they can either become entangled in the waste, or mistake it for food.
Refrain from eating seafood. In the United States alone, the fishing industry — mainly commercial trawling — injures and kills more than 250,000 turtles every year. Can you imagine what this number is globally.
Adopt a turtle with WWF! Doing so helps to safeguard turtles.
Image: Placebo365 / Canva
Major Threats To Sea Turtles | Fishing Bycatch, Habitat Loss & Poaching
Turtles are the oldest living reptiles in the world, but they’re not built to withstand modern threats like fishing nets, habitat loss, poaching, marine pollution, and climate change.
Sadly, the fishing industry is responsible for hundreds of thousands of turtle deaths per year. When turtles become entangled in longlines, gill nets and trawls, they’re at risk of drowning (lack of oxygen), or being discarded as bycatch.
Habitat loss due to coastal development, vehicle traffic on beaches, and light pollution from roads and buildings is an ongoing threat to all sea turtles. This is because female sea turtles depend on beaches to dig nests and lay eggs. The illegal poaching of turtles for their meat, eggs, leather and shells is also a growing problem.
Image: Jakubgojda / Canva
Major Threats To Sea Turtles | Marine Pollution & Climate Change
We’ve all seen the images of turtles eating or becoming entangled in plastic. It’s heart wrenching, but these graphic images help us to comprehend the real impact of plastic pollution — and our role in causing it.
Microplastics and oil ingestion can also weaken turtles’ immune systems and disrupt their nesting behaviour. But, it’s not just ocean plastic — heavily-littered beaches can endanger hatchlings and prevent them from reaching the ocean.
We are seeing a gradual change in natural sex ratios of turtle hatchlings due to climate change. This is because warmer temperatures result in fewer male hatchlings being born.We're also seeing an increasing prevalence of extreme weather events, which destroy nesting beaches and coral reefs.
Image: Jeremy Bishop / Canva
Celebrate World Turtle Day — With Flora & Fauna!
At F&F, we stock plenty of products with turtle designs!
We can all agree that sea turtles and tortoises are beautiful, exquisite creatures. These reptiles have roamed the Earth for more than 230 million years, but now, the impact of fishing, marine pollution, poaching, and climate change may drive them to extinction. One thing is clear — they need our help!
For more information about turtles and how to help them, check out the blogs below.