Sea turtles have graced waters across the earth for more than 100 million years. They are one of the oldest species on the planet. They play a unique role in marine ecosystems and help keep coral reefs and grass beds healthy and balanced. They are a living treasure yet sadly enough they are an endangered species.
What has created the threat to these ancient creatures? There are a number of things and most of them are caused by the acts of humans.
One major factor is overharvesting. The turtles and their eggs are used as food by millions of people around the world. Parts of the turtle are sold to make oil and leather and their shell are used in a variety of ways.
They are often caught up in the nets of commercial fisheries. Not only can the entanglement in nets kill the turtles it also destroys their habitats.
Sea turtle habitats are regularly destroyed by coastal construction and development as well. Since the turtles breed on the beach, traffic and other unnatural activities on the shores are guilty of destructing many breeding grounds for sea turtles.
Human have also created a pollution problem which greatly affects the safety of turtles. There is the danger of entanglement, the effect of oils, plastic, and petroleum by-products. Even discarded fishing gear can be harmful if a sea turtle ingests it. Chemical pollution causes sea turtles to have weaker immune systems and become more vulnerable to diseases and infections.
Last but certainly not least is climate change. Every stage of a sea turtle’s life is influenced by the environment – it even plays a role in determining gender. It is believed that unusually warm temperatures are resulting in fewer male hatchlings.
Climate change has also resulted in more severe storms that damage nests and breeding grounds.
When you look over the list of reasons why are sea turtles endangered, it seems it really does boil down to just one answer: man’s irresponsible neglect and abuse of our planet.