Sea turtles have lived in the world’s oceans for over 150 million years. Sadly, these ancient reptiles are now globally threatened with extinction. Many populations are declining as a result of hunting, increasing coastal development, incidental capture in fisheries, degradation and destruction of nesting beaches, and marine pollution. You can help protect them by following these simple guidelines.
- All species of sea turtle are endangered and need protection.
- Turtles can drown if they are prevented from reaching the surface of the sea to breathe.
- Litter is dangerous, especially plastic bags, which can be mistaken for jellyfish—a favorite turtle food.
- Turtles remain in the same region for years and, as adults, return to the same nesting area year after year. If a nesting colony is destroyed, the turtles may never return.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- Support local sea turtle conservation initiatives—make a donation or consider volunteering.
- Participate in local sighting networks and complete all wildlife sighting forms.
- Do not buy or sell turtle products—turtles are strictly protected under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) and most national laws.
IN THE WATER
- Watch for turtles while boating—boat strikes can kill.
- When in the water, keep your distance and avoid startling turtles. Do not disturb resting, sleeping or feeding turtles.
- Approach turtles slowly and calmly and move away if they show signs of distress.
- Never try to spear, harass, catch, or ride turtles.
- Do not touch or feed turtles.
- Participating in responsible turtle watching programs can help raise
- awareness of the need to protect turtles.
- Be sure to find out about local laws and regulations, as they may differ from these general guidelines.