Did you know that turtles are vital to an ocean’s ecosystem? They’re actually very important predators even thought they don’t look as if they are. They help in keeping the ocean’s food chains healthy. It doesn’t matter what type of turtle it is, they’re all important! They even protect coral reefs, which are vital for the survival of other marine animals. Hawksbill turtles eat sea sponges, which would totally ruin reef-building corals if not eaten by the turtles. Also, the leatherback turtle likes to eat jellyfish, which in turn helps keep plenty of fish in the sea since jellyfish would devour all the fish.
Marine turtles are vital to ocean life and people, but sadly, their numbers are dwindling. And that’s because of humans, we’re wrecking the planet and many of its precious animals, including marine turtles. There are many challenges affecting marine turtles, which people need to be aware of if we want to save them. One of the biggest challenges is loss of living space.
Even though all the beach houses coming up across the world are nice to live in, they’re creating havoc on marine ecosystems. These costal developments are destroying turtle nesting beaches. Even if the females are able to dig their nests for their eggs, these beaches are polluted beyond belief! They are strewn with litter and the like or feature heavy lighting, which actually prevents hatchlings from reaching the sea.
Another challenge is unsustainable fishing done by humans. Since marine turtles need to breathe air when they surface, they risk getting tangled in fishing nets or hooks. This causes them to drown because they can’t get the air needed to survive. Also, overfishing and unsustainable fishing done across the planet also damages their feeding grounds like coral reefs and seagrass beds.
Many cultures eat marine turtles and use their shells for a variety of things, causing a rise in the illegal wildlife trade of these precious animals. Their eggs are also thought of as delicacies in many parts of the world, so people raid their nests looking for eggs to eat. Climate change is another huge challenge causing marine turtle populations to decrease. The sex of hatchlings is determined by the nest’s temperature. Warmer temps create females, while cooler temps make males. So as the climate gets hotter and hotter, it’s creating more female marine turtles. Not enough male hatchlings are being born. Plus, climate change is making sea levels rise and that’s also damaging nesting beaches for turtles.
To save marine turtles, you can do your part by becoming a conscious seafood consumer and ask how and where it was caught. Also, don’t litter because a lot of the trash you throw out ends up in our oceans, which can harm marine turtles, especially plastics. Keep turtle nesting beaches safe and dark since light disorients hatchlings and discourages females from laying their eggs on the beach.
You can also support marine turtle conservation by doing your part and getting involved! Support charities, foundations and actions that help marine turtles. One great way to do that is to purchase our fun T-shirt! Our 'Catch Waves Not Turtles', tee means humans need to enjoy the sea alongside with marine turtles and not harm them. A percentage of all sales for our rad tee with go towards their conservation! You’ll not only look stylish, but will also be saving marine turtles at the same time. Join our movement so that we can save the turtles and other endangered species on the brink of extinction!