Photo by Charleston's TheDigital via Flickr Creative Commons
Curious about what happens in a sea turtle hospital? How do turtles end up there, and how are they rehabilitated? Oceana supporter and actress Lauren Norman visited a Florida sea turtle hospital and science center, and enlightens us on why turtles end up there, what the facility can do to help them, and how we can keep turtles from needing their own special hospitals. Check out the fascinating short video with Lauren, and read up on seven interesting facts about these disappearing creatures.
1. Sea Turtles can live as long as 80 years, and take decades to reach sexual maturity, meaning they're slow to recover from population pressures.
2. Sea turtles, particularly green sea turtles, are one of the ocean's very few grazing animals, cutting sea grass short and helping to maintain the health of grass beds. These sea grass beds then provide breeding and developmental grounds for fish, shellfish and crustaceans, which means sea turtles are an important part of maintaining marine biodiversity.
3. Fishing has become one of the greatest sources of mortality to sea turtles around the globe, caught both as bycatch and food.
4. Many parts of the world have long considered sea turtles to be fine dining. Ancient Chinese texts dating to the fifth century B.C. describe sea turtles as exotic delicacies. Even today, coastal peoples gather sea turtle eggs for consumption.
5. Other human threats to sea turtles include ingestion of or entanglement in marine debris, pollution, coastal development, poaching, vessel strikes, climate change and predation by invasive species.
6. Of the seven species of sea turtles, six are found in U.S. waters: green, hawksbill, Kemp's ridley, leatherback, loggerhead, and olive ridley.
7. All 7 species of marine turtles are listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
It's a depressing issue, but there is something you can do about it. Oceana has a petition you can sign that goes to Congress asking for strengthened regulations around protecting sea turtles. Considering six of the seven species are found in US waters, it's important for our country to play a leading role in helping to protect them.
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More on Sea Turtles
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