There is a growing problem regarding sea turtles throughout the world, as their numbers have declined over the past decades.
These marine animals are divided into seven species such as flatback, Kemp’s Ridley, Olive Ridley, Hawksbill, loggerhead, leatherback, and Green. These species have all suffered a decline because of various factors including climate change, human ignorance, pollution, and fishing nets.
Sea turtles have a broad range of food as they are either herbivores, such as green sea turtles, that feed on seaweed, sea grass, and algae. On the other hand, Kemp’s Ridley and the loggerheads are carnivores. Both species rely on a diet of shrimps, jellies, whelk, conchs, and crabs.
Plus, other species, such as the hawksbill, eat only sponges. Concerning their size, the leatherback is the largest species of sea turtle in the world, weighing between 200 and 506 kg and reaching up to 1.2 to 1.9 meters. According to Nicole Gioia, senior biologist at Adventure Aquarium, even if turtles are regarded as slow animals, they are quite fast compared to their weight and size.
In other words, if turtles had been smaller and lighter, they would have been faster than other sea creatures. In addition to this, sea turtles are highly resilient as they are capable of traveling impressive distances and survive in freezing waters.
For instance, leatherbacks live in the waters of Alaska and Chile, whereas loggerheads migrate from Japan to Mexico. Unfortunately, sea turtles have many enemies because in some countries they are excessively hunted and eaten by people.
Worse, humans have repeatedly killed nesting females and ate their eggs, thus drastically reducing the sea turtles population. Fisheries are also a leading cause of death among these marine animals. The statistics showed that countless of turtles usually drown in the fishing nets.
Moreover, 50,000 leatherback and over 200,000 loggerheads are killed, injured or caught in lines every year. In addition to this, shrimp trawls kill 150,000 turtles of all species per year.
Unfortunately, water pollution also took its toll on sea turtles because they usually swallow floating bottles, balloons, bags, and other plastic residues which the animals confuse with jellyfish. Plus, plastic debris in the ocean becomes the perfect death trap for many leatherbacks every year.
Many organizations throughout the world are doing their best to preserve and help the turtles’ population. Hopefully, their efforts will eventually pay off.