Everyone loves Sea Turtles! Especially after Finding Nemo came out, the world fell in love with Crush, the 150 year old sea turtle cruzin' through the East Australian Current.
Sea Turtles are one of the world's most loved air breathing reptiles and they have been roaming the earth for well over 100 million years- pre-dating most dinosaurs. Sea Turtles have also played a symbolic role in mythology representing wisdom with age.
In general, sea turtles are a key indicator of vitality of the overall marine environment.
Sea turtles are gentle giants in the ocean, eating mainly sea grass, sea sponge, algae, jelly fish and other ocean drifters. When they reach sexual maturity at 15-35 years old (depending on the species) they return to the same beach where they were born to lay their own turtle eggs to hatch. Sea turtles are very specific in regards to where they will lay their eggs. The sand temperature must be just right and there must not be any bright light or potential threats, When a sea turtle does lay eggs it lays about 80-200 eggs, and after three months the sea turtle babies will hatch and waddle back into the big blue to fight for their life!
Once they make it out to sea they find a piece of bark, or seaweed to hide by while they practice free diving into the ocean. Unfortunately, with environmental conditions as they are now, only 1% of baby sea turtles will reach sexual maturity. This contributes to the issue at hand, that of the 7 different types of sea turtles in the ocean, all of them are considered either endangered or threatened.
Sea Turtle Conservation Efforts are extremely important because sea turtle populations are declining at alarming rates all over the world. Ever since 1042, when over 920,000 turtle nests were found and destroyed, the decline in sea turtle populations has not stopped receding. Some of the biggest threats to sea turtles are:
Destruction of Coral Reefs
Losing their Nesting Beaches because of Human Building Developments
Harvesting baby sea turtles and turtle eggs
Pollution is a big cause of sea turtle deaths or injuries. Sea turtles eat jelly fish as a source of food, and many times a sea turtle will mistake a floating white plastic bag as a jelly fish and take a bite out of it- choking to death in the process. Plastic straws are also a big issue because they can get stuck in their throats or nostrils (you might remember this viral video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wH878t78bw).
However, those sea turtles that do survive to reach sexual maturity have a lot to live for. Sea turtles can live over 150 years, weigh an average 1,116 pounds (depending on the species), and dive to depths greater than 3,000 feet!
PIYOGA is teaming up with sea turtle conservationists such as the Gili Eco Trust and other organizations across the world to restore and build coral structures, prevent dynamite fishing, prevent harvesting, and build a safer and more eco-friendly environment for sea turtles and all marine life. Sea turtles can also travel up to 1,300 miles a day, Leatherback sea turtles usually ride the current from Indonesia, to Hawaii, to San Diego. Loggerhead sea turtles migrate from Japan to the coast of Baja California, Mexico. Therefore, the conservation efforts made even in just one part of the world can have a life changing global impact on sea turtle vitality all over the world.
It is up to us to make a difference, and we need your help!