Endangered Green TurtlesBY EARTHFIRST / GREENPEACE
For more than 100 million years marine turtles have swam in the vast oceans of our beautiful planet. Their existence is a vital and integral role in marine and coastal ecosystems, sadly over the last 200 years human activities have tipped the scales against the survival of these ancient mariners.
They are now endangered on a global scale and their population is continuing to decline. As with many of our sea creatures, urgent global action is needed to ensure their future.
The green turtles existence is threatened by human disturbances as well as other creatures that feast on their eggs and hatchlings.
Every year turtles drown in fishing gear and are strangled or choked by rubbish, or hit by boats. Coastal developments and dredging have also disrupted their nesting habitats and feeding areas. In some countries, hunting has also drastically reduced the turtle population.
Green turtles are found in warm tropical waters worldwide swimming and feeding amongst rich seaweed and coral reefs and also inshore seagrass pastures and shores during egg laying season. Green sea turtles are the largest of all the hard-shelled sea turtles, measuring over 100cm and weighing an average of 150kg.
One of the most distressing things that I discovered whilst researching this article, is the effects that pollution is having on green turtles and probably many more sea living creatures. Scientists have discovered a high incidence of cancer like tumors (Fibropapillomas) in Green turtles that live in coastal areas. The occurrence of this cancer in Green Turtles has reached epidemic proportions in many populations, severely threatening the health and future of these sea creatures.
What can you do?
- Never pollute the ocean and always reduce boat spped in coastal areas.
- Don’t drive vehicles or ride horses on nesting beaches.
Support the Sea Turtle Foundation
- Make a tax-deductable contribution to the West Indies Marine Animal Research and Conseration Service (WIMARCS) to support research into fibropapilloma, habitat utilization and human impacts.