World Sea Turtle Day

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Green Sea Turtle
Green Sea Turtle

World Sea Turtle Day is an annual event that celebrates and raises awareness about sea turtles. It is observed on June 16th, the birthday of Dr. Archie Carr, a pioneer in sea turtle research and conservation.

Sea turtles are among the oldest living creatures on Earth, dating back to the time of the dinosaurs. There are seven species of sea turtles: green, loggerhead, leatherback, hawksbill, Kemp's ridley, olive ridley, and flatback. Each species has its own unique characteristics, such as size, shape, color, diet, and nesting behavior. Sea turtles can be found in almost every ocean basin, from tropical to temperate waters. They migrate long distances between their feeding and nesting grounds, sometimes crossing entire oceans.

Sea turtles play important roles in the marine ecosystem. They help maintain the health and balance of coral reefs, seagrass beds, and other habitats. They also provide food and shelter for many other animals, such as fish, crabs, birds, and sharks. Sea turtles are also culturally and spiritually significant for many people around the world. They are symbols of wisdom, endurance, and resilience.

However, sea turtles face many threats and challenges in their lives. Some of the major threats include:

  • Habitat loss and degradation: Sea turtles depend on healthy beaches and oceans for their survival. However, human activities such as coastal development, pollution, climate change, and invasive species have degraded or destroyed many of their habitats.
  • Poaching and illegal trade: Sea turtles and their eggs are hunted for their meat, shells, skin, and oil. Some people also collect them as pets or souvenirs. The illegal trade in sea turtle products is a lucrative business that fuels organized crime and corruption.
  • Bycatch and entanglement: Sea turtles often get caught in fishing gear such as nets, hooks, lines, and traps. They can drown or suffer serious injuries from the gear. They can also get entangled in marine debris such as plastic bags, balloons, and fishing lines.
  • Predation and disease: Sea turtles face natural predators such as sharks, crabs, raccoons, dogs and birds. They can also contract diseases such as fibropapillomatosis (FP), a tumor-causing virus that affects their eyesight and immune system.

These threats have caused a dramatic decline in sea turtle populations worldwide. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), six out of the seven species of sea turtles are classified as endangered or critically endangered.

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