Sea turtles are "keystone species" that are extremely important in order to keep the oceans healthy. Anyone, whether or not they live in, or are simply visiting areas where turtles are found, should appreciate them and do everything possible to save them from extinction.
In what ways can people help to save sea turtles?
There are several things that people can do to make sure that sea turtles don't become extinct. For instance:
- Reduce garbage production and pick up trash lying on the beach
Garbage is incredibly dangerous to these creatures, both in and out of the ocean. They become entangled in discarded plastic items like bags and balloons, as well as old fishing lines, often resulting in serious injury or even death.
- Turn off lights that are visible from the beach
Hatchlings use moonlight and the moon's reflection on the ocean to find their way back to the water. Artificial lights confuse them and cause them to head inland, rather than out to sea, which puts their lives in danger with predators. Artificial lighting also discourages female turtles from going onto the beach to nest and lay her eggs.
- Avoid areas used by sea turtles for nesting and hatching
Although they are cute and there is a temptation to touch them, disturbing nesting females should be avoided at all costs. Nesting areas should be avoided too, to avoid tramping on the hatchlings as they make their way to the water.
- Reduce chemical usage
Chemicals which are used in the home and on lawns can actually be washed into the oceans, where they kill animals and plants. It is vital therefore, that these toxic chemicals are disposed of properly or even better, that alternative, biodegradable products are used instead.
Why is it important to save the sea turtle?
Although the oceans have been the natural, healthy habitat of sea turtles for about 150 million years, there is a real danger of them becoming extinct because of humans. Should this happen, it is not only marine life and vegetation that will suffer, but humans as well, for the following reasons:
• Turtles use beaches to nest and lay eggs and it is their nesting and eggs that give beach sand sufficient nutrients that allow vegetation growth along the coastline and sand dunes.
• Should these creatures become extinct the major source of nutrients that dune vegetation gets from them would be lost, resulting in the beaches being washed away.
• Jellyfish are a source of food for turtles, keeping their numbers down, which would otherwise be a major problem to recreation, fisheries and other types of marine activities in the oceans.
• Humans harvest many marine species that are kept in balance through being eaten by sea turtles. Turtles keep sea grasses productive by feeding on them and sea sponges too, that compete with corals, which take a long time to grow.
• Sea turtles, as well as the many other marine creatures affected by their presence in the ocean, are important for tourism, a crucial source of income for numerous countries.
A portion of the sale of our turtle pendant necklaces goes to support Save the Turtles initiatives and non-profits. Although these are just some of the reasons for helping to save the sea turtle, research will discover even more about these creatures and the essential role they play in marine ecosystems.