It has been more than 100 million years since Sea Turtles have covered immeasurable expanses across the oceans of the sphere, playing a vital role in the stability of the marine territories. These beautiful marine creatures are a bliss to the marine ecosystem, helping to sustain the health of the sea-grass bedsteads and coral reefs that assist commercially many precious genera such as shrimp, tuna, lobster. However, these beautiful creatures are facing serious threats to their existence. Why is this happening? Why are sea turtles endangered? Who would wish to kill assets of the ecosystem? We will talk about this in this article. So stay tuned!
Some Striking Facts About Sea Turtles:
- Sea turtles, also called marine turtles, are reptiles of Testudines’ order and Cryptodira suborder.
- Scientifically the turtle family is named Cheloniidae and Dermochelyidae and have a body length varying from 2-6 feet.
- There are 7 kinds of sea turtles.
- The sea turtle inhabits the tropical and subtropical seas.
- The hatchlings of the sea turtles are directed to the ocean at night by the natural light on the ocean horizon.
- The sex of the eggs in the nest of the sea turtles is determined by the temperature of the nest.
Are Sea Turtles Endangered?
Human undertakings have slanted the scales of survival of the antediluvian mariners. Almost all species of the sea turtles are reported to be endangered. This tragic news is a result of continued slaughtering of the turtles for their eggs, meat, skin, shells and never-ending poaching and exploitation. It is really disappointing on our parts that we fail to acknowledge the existence of many beautiful, adorable creatures until they become endangered. What is harming these little mariners? What are the causes due to which sea turtles are endangered? Let us examine in detail.
What Are The Threats Faced By The Sea Turtles?
The sea turtles are known to be vulnerable to the pollution present in the water bodies at all stages of their lifecycle- from eggs to juveniles to adults. Toxic metals, petroleum products and industrial runoff of adulterated fertilizers, etc. do immediate harm to these mariners by coming in direct contact and building in the tissues, which eventually leads to immunosuppression that results in diseases and gradual death. The oil spills far offshore, tend to congregate along junction zones (where the currents of the oceans encounter). These zones are the most important areas for the young turtles to mature. The oil spill washes up the shores and degrades the nests of the little turtles. Sea turtles also ingest food contaminated by the oil and tar pellets, which result in their untimely death.
Turtle Shell Trades:
The Hawksbill sea turtles are vital to the well-being of the coral reefs. They are also the favorites to the divers and attract tourists from all over the sphere, helping tourism of the country. However, the beautiful shells of the Hawksbill turtle are a major reason due to which they are endangered. In several places, they are used by the artisans to craft jewelry and other trinkets. Campaigns such as “Too Rare to Wear”, are launched to discourage people from killing the turtles for their shells.
Entanglement in Fishing Paraphernalia:
The greatest threat to sea turtles is most likely the incidental capture in the fishing gears, which is also known as by catching. Approximately 40% of all the creatures trapped in the fisheries are rejected as trash. Those that were trapped and injured and then released as trash, but manage to remain alive, their fate post-release can’t be determined. Trawls, gillnets, pots, etc. are primarily accountable for the death of several marine animals due to incidental entanglement. The sea turtles, mainly the loggerheads, leatherbacks, and the Olive Ridley are fascinated by the bait and tend to get trapped in the hooks and get drown. Trawls are predominantly destructive and vicious and are estimated to hook 20lbs of bycatch for 1lbs of target variety. Although Turtle Excluder Devices used, have reduced the mortality rate of the turtles, they are not regulated worldwide. According to the surveys, it is estimated that as many as 1.5 million sea turtles were trapped in the trawls or hooks over a period of 18 years.
Global warming is having a colossal impact on wildlife, including marine animals, such as sea turtles. The animals don’t have enough abilities to adapt to the drastic changes in climate which is a result of global warming. The rise in the level of the water bodies due to the melting poles is already contributing to the loss of coastlines and sea turtle’s nests. Weather extremes, linked to the changes occurring in the climate, bring frequent and severe storms which change the nesting beaches, cause shore erosion, and floods. The heated sands due to the ever-increasing temperature results in reduced hatchling rates and also affects the natural sex ratios of the sea turtles. The warming ocean temperatures influence the drifting of the turtles. The warm water temperature also influences the coral reefs by bleaching them, which indirectly affects the turtles, as the reefs are vital to the survival of species like Hawksbill.
The coastal development is a wide category that includes an array of human undertakings such as beachfront production of houses, roads, and hotels. It is expected that that half of the world’s population will increase dramatically in the following decade. Human alterations in the shorelines compel the nesting she turtles to use other coasts, which causes the degradation of their habitats. When the sea turtles reach sexual maturity, they are known to return to the same coasts where they were hatched. Objects and article left on the beaches stand as an obstacle for the turtles to utilize the coasts as nests. These obstacles can be hazardous to hatchlings, as they get trapped in depressions. Yachts and boats are also responsible for the injuries and deaths of a large number of sea turtles.
So these are the reasons why the sea turtles are endangered. And if you ask us, these causes are totally avoidable, only if we are willing to work on them collectively.
If you know anything more about why are sea turtles endangered, let us know by commenting below.
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