Why Protecting Sea Turtles is Important
1 Did you know that sea turtles have lived on Earth and in the world’s oceans for over 100 million years? It’s true, but now sea turtles are struggling to survive because humans are harming our planet’s oceans and beaches.
2 By correcting and learning from our mistakes, we can save sea turtles from extinction. Another benefit of saving sea turtles is that we might just be saving ourselves, too. An animal becomes extinct when the last living individual of its species dies, causing it to vanish from the Earth forever.
3 It is important to understand how sea turtles help the environment, and why protecting them is necessary. Here is some information that explains how sea turtle extinction would have a devastating effect on our environment.
4 Sea turtles, especially green sea turtles, are one of the very few animals to eat sea grass. Sea grass, like your lawn, needs to be constantly cut short to be healthy and help it grow across the sea floor. For many years, there has been a decline in sea grass beds. This decline is most likely due to the lower numbers of sea turtles.
5 Sea grass beds are important because they provide breeding grounds for many species of fish, shellfish, and crustaceans. If sea turtles go extinct, there would be a serious decline in sea grass beds and a decline in all the other species dependent upon the grass beds for survival.
6 All parts of an ecosystem are important, if you lose one, other animals in the ecosystem could also be lost. An ecosystem includes all of the living things (plants, animals, and organisms) in a specific area.
Beaches and Dunes Systems
7 Sea turtles use beaches and the lower dunes to nest and lay their eggs. Sea turtles lay around 100 eggs in a nest and lay between three and seven nests during the summer nesting season. Along the east coast of Florida, sea turtles lay over 150,000 pounds of eggs in the sand. Not every nest will hatch, not every egg in a nest will hatch, and not all of the hatchlings in a nest will make it out of the nest.
8 As the number of turtles declines, fewer eggs are laid on the beaches. This means fewer baby turtles will be born, grow up, and return to the beaches to lay more eggs. If sea turtles became extinct, both the marine and beach/dune ecosystems would be harmed.
9 The threats facing sea turtles are many and, for the most part, humans are to blame. Thankfully, dedicated individuals all over the world are working hard to provide solutions that would prevent sea turtle extinction, such as moving nests to protected areas or raising hatchlings in captivity. However, in order to protect sea turtles around the world, countries and cultures must work together as a team.
10 We can all do our part to protect sea turtles. For more information about sea turtle conservation, go to the Gainesville Florida Sea Turtle Conservancy website firstname.lastname@example.org.