World Sea Turtle Day is celebrated on Dr. Archie Carr’s birthday. Dr. Carr was the founder of the Sea Turtle Conservancy and his research and advocacy brought attention to the environmental conditions that continue to threaten sea turtles. Today 6 of the 7 sea turtle species on earth are endangered due to loss of habitat, accidental fishing, plastic pollution and the effects of climate change.
For hundreds of millions of years sea turtles have performed many important tasks that contribute to the well-being of sea life and the environment. Leatherbacks and hawksbill sea turtles help keep the populations of jellyfish and sponges in check. Green sea turtles eat sea grass which needs to be kept short to ensure it’s health and growth along the ocean floor. These grass beds provide a place for breeding and development for many species of fish.
Here is a list of things you can do to help protect sea turtles all year:
Turn off your lights. If you live in a beach-front residence, turn your lights off. Lights and noise cause nesting females to return to the sea without laying their eggs and can cause hatchling turtles to wander in the wrong direction.
Clean up the beach. Remove any waste from beaches. A clean beach will keep trash out of the ocean and ensure that turtles have clean nesting grounds.
Recycle. Plastic that ends up in the ocean gets eaten by turtles when they mistake the plastic for jellyfish. Over 100 million marine animals are killed each year due to plastic debris. Buying and using products that decrease the use of plastic helps prevent plastic pollution.
Spread the word. Not everybody knows that June 16 is World Sea Turtle Day. So tell your friends and family and invite everyone to spread the word about sea turtles and help protect them.
Donate to conservation efforts. Help support work done to preserve nesting habitats.
We support the efforts of the Tortugario in Monterrico, Guatemala to preserve and conserve marine sea turtles that nest each year on the Pacific coast of Guatemala. This is the nesting site for three species of endangered sea turtles. It is one of the few places in the world that receives so many species. This operation is part of the San Carlos University Center for Conservation Studies (CECON). They offer to buy eggs found on the beach from the hunters. Guatemalan law says that residents may keep only a % of eggs found. The rest they must sell to the tortugarios for hatch and release.
The nesting season runs from June through January, but peaks in August and September. During this time female sea turtles return to the place of their birth to lay their clutch of eggs in the sands. Arriving in the dark she digs a hole and fills it with eggs before covering the site with sand and returning to the sea. When the eggs are ready to hatch the baby sea turtles emerge from the nest and make their way across the sands to enter the ocean for the first time.
Your gift will be donated in your name to the Tortugario Monterrico to support their rescue efforts. Read more here.
Female leatherback sea turtle laying eggs.