They survived the ice age. They survived the meteor that killed all the dinosaurs. But sea turtles might not survive us.Take Action ↓
Sea turtles have captivated our collective imagination for as long as humans have roamed the Earth. According to Hawaiian legend, sea turtles guided the first voyagers to the island nation. The Moche civilization of ancient Peru worshipped these mystical sea creatures, much of their surviving artwork is of sea turtles’ mosaic shells. Ancient Chinese mythology often depicts sea turtles as symbols of wisdom. Despite their global, cultural prominence throughout our history, the lives of sea turtles remain very much a mystery.
“The world rides through space on the back of a turtle. This is one of the great ancient world myths, found wherever men and turtles were gathered together.”Terry Pratchett,
author of Small Gods
For more than 100 million years, sea turtles have navigated the vast, open ocean, using the Earth’s invisible magnetic fields as a compass and their birth sites as a destination. They’re hearty, long living creatures – it takes almost 50 years for some species to reach sexual maturity. Yet they’re incredibly fragile. 90% of hatchlings do not survive for more than one year. Only 1 in 1,000 hatchlings will survive to adulthood.
Sea turtles are essential in maintaining the balance of both aquatic and coastal ecosystems. When they come ashore to create their nests and lay their eggs, they provide vital nutrients to the soil which helps vegetation take root and thrive. By feeding on seagrass, sea turtles help keep seagrass beds healthy and actually help the beds grow in size by keeping the individual blades of grass cut short. Essentially, sea turtles are seagrass farmers, maintaining a vital ecosystem that acts as a nursery and provides protection for other species. A single acre of seagrass may support as many as 40,000 fish, and 50 million small invertebrates like crabs, oysters, and mussels.
They survived the ice age. They survived the meteor that killed all the dinosaurs. But sea turtles might not survive us.
Sea turtles are resilient, but they need your help.