Only one from 1000-5000 hatching survives to reach maturity
Turtles are part of the marine ecological system
Unique biological system for scientific researches & studies
ONLY 7 SPECIES EXIST IN THE WORLD TODAY
Hawksbill Sea Turtle The harder-to-pronounce (scientific) name: Eretmochelys imbricata A name doesn't always describe a critter ... For example, the olive ridley turtle isn't always olive-colored and it certainly doesn't have a red head (like the pimento in an olive!), and the green sea turtle isn't all that green. In the case of the hawksbill turtle, however, its name does describe a unique feature of this reptile. Hawksbill turtles really do have mouths which resemble a hawk's beak! To add to this birdlike appearance, their longish heads become narrower near their mouths and their lower jaw is V-shaped. The hawksbill is a small-to-medium-size sea turtle, ranging from 30 to 36 inches in shell length and weighing from 100 to 200 pounds. When very young, their shell is heart-shaped, but as they grow older the shell sort of stretches out, and the "heart" becomes much longer. The worst thing about the hawksbill sea turtle is that the scutes, or scales, on its shell are beautiful. The reason this is bad is that the pretty amber scutes with their streaks of brown and black are the source of "tortoise shell," which people like to use for all kinds of jewelry and trinkets. Their beautiful scutes cost many hawksbill turtles their lives. Hawksbills live in different places at different stages of their life. Little baby hawksbill sea turtles usually crack out of their egg shells at night, opening their brand new eyes on a Caribbean beach. Not a bad way to start! It is believed that the very young hawksbills take shelter in weedlines. As they grow, Hawksbills venture into coastal waters throughout central Atlantic and Indo-Pacific regions. Here they seek shelter in the ledges and caves of coral reef systems. They also eat the sponges which are commonly found on reefs. With food and shelter taken care of, the turtles thoughts turn to love! After courtship and mating, it's nesting time for the female hawksbills. Their six month nesting season between July and October is longer than that of other sea turtles. When the time and place is right, "mom" crawls out of the sea, picks a just-right site for her nest, goes about the task of digging the pit which serves as a "nest", lays around a hundred or so eggs, covers them with sand, then disguises them with vegetation, and finally drags her tired self back to the sea. When the babies begin to crack out of their eggs, the hawksbill life cycle begins again.
Green Sea Turtle The harder-to-pronounce (scientific) name: Chelonia mydas Strange, but the green sea turtle is not that green. It's certainly not as green as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. In fact, its shell has been described as being mostly black or brownish, with swirls of olive and gold. It is, however, the largest hard-shelled sea turtle with adults weighing in at an average of between 200 and 300 pounds with a shell length of between 36 and 43 inches. Despite this, its head is small in comparison to other sea turtles – but don't be too tempted to poke fun at the green sea turtle, because the biting edge of its lower jaw is serrated like a very sharp knife! But luckily, it's a vegetarian! It mostly hangs around the coasts and islands in the tropical and subtropical Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, along the Argentine coast, in the Mediterranean Sea, and the Indo-Pacific. Little baby green sea turtles are only two inches long and are black on top with white underneath. As the turtle grows up, its shell remains mostly black with while the body turns orange or yellowish orange. Juvenile or young turtles show up a lot in Florida waters, especially in areas with lots of sea grasses. Green sea turtles, like all sea turtles, are very different from land or freshwater turtles. All sea turtles have flatter, more streamlined shells which helps them swim through the water faster. Instead of feet for walking, sea turtles have flippers which are better for swimming. The flippers aren't much good on land, however, and walking is already hard for a sea turtle because they are usually pretty big and heavy. One other interesting thing about a sea turtle's flippers is that they cannot be pulled into their shells. Land turtles can pull their feet into their shells for protection, but a sea turtle can't. That's bad news if the turtle can't out swim a predator, because the flippers aren't protected by its hard shell ... Ouch!
Leatherback Sea Turtle The harder-to-pronounce (scientific) name: Dermochelys coriacea A turtle of superlatives, the leatherback is in a class by itself – Dermochelys, instead of Cheloniidae. It is the largest sea turtle and the largest reptile on earth today by weight – usually between 1600 and 1400 pounds. Its shell length is between six and seven feet long. Its front flippers are longer than those of other marine turtles. The leatherback travels the farthest, dives the deepest, and goes into the coldest waters. And then, there's that name ... Instead of having a hard shell on its back like other turtles, the leatherback has rubbery skin that is sort of flexible and sort of, well, leathery, hence its name! Also unlike other species of sea turtle, the leatherback doesn't have scales. Instead, underneath its leather back, it has bony ridges. Despite this "thinner skin", leatherback turtles roam farther into the cold, northern waters than any other land or water reptile, all the way up into the northern Pacific ocean. They have been seen in the Gulf of Alaska and south of the Bering Sea! Leatherbacks can get away with this because, like some oceanic fish, they retain heat from swimming. How they retain this heat is a little more complicated, but is had to do with their circulation system and their large volume-to-surface area ratio. (You may want to think about that one for a second. Hmm, volume-to-surface area ratio ... that would have something to do with their being 1600 to 1400 pounds and six to seven feet long in the shell ...) Leatherback sea turtles cover a lot of area in their travels. After all that travel and swimming in the cold water, the leatherback sea turtle likes to eat something tangy, like jellyfish! They've been spotted around Chile in the southeastern Pacific, New Foundland and Labrador in the North Atlantic, throughout the Indian Ocean, and Tasmania, and New Zealand in the southwestern Pacific. These ocean-going turtles are said to come into coastal waters only during breeding season and, lucky for the hatchlings, they typically nest in the tropics. Hatchlings are two to two-and-a-half inches long and are mostly black, but their flippers are white.
Olive Ridley Sea Turtle The harder-to-pronounce (scientific) name: Lepidochelys olivacea Some olive ridley sea turtle actually are olive green in color (but no pimento), however, others are black or grayish-brown. The turtle's protective shell is heart-shaped or round, and in adults is usually between 24 and 30 inches long. The olive ridley, along with the Kemp's ridley, are the smallest of the sea turtles, and the olive ridley usually weighs "only" around 100 pounds. Both kinds of ridleys are unusual because they makes nests every year, while other sea turtles have seasons where they don't breed. Olive ridley turtle moms do something really unusual and pretty spectacular – many, many, many of them go to specific beaches at the same time to make their nests and lay eggs! These communal nesting beaches are called "arribadas". In English, arribada translates to "arrival by sea" which is exactly what the turtle moms do! There are several arribada beaches along the Pacific coast of Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama. Four arribada sites have been reported along Indian Ocean coastal areas an in the Atlantic small arribadas have been reported from one area. Females holding between 100 and 110 eggs can wait weeks for the right time to come ashore and nest. It is hard to say what conditions are right for the arribada, it could be moon or tide phases, climate or weather conditions, but the continued occurrences of several large arribadas has helped make the olive ridley the sea turtle with the greatest population. Imagine a quiet night on the beach with the only light coming from the moon above. Slowly, multitudes of turtles begin to emerge from the water, climbing the beach. They eventually stop and begin digging in the sand. They burrow in for a bit, leaving their eggs and then using their flippers shovel the sand back into the hole they just dug, over their eggs. Then, more slowly than before, they move back down the beach, into the sea and then they are gone! After that, the turtle mom needs a tropical vacation – luckily that's where she and other olive ridleys live! The olive ridleys are joined in their tropical habitat by the leatherback sea turtles. Both live in tropical regions of Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic Oceans, and both nest primarily on Pacific shores of the American tropics and in the Guianas. Recent studies show that olive ridleys reside in the eastern Pacific Ocean during the non-reproductive portion of its life cycle. Olive ridleys munch on crabs, shrimp, rock lobsters and jellyfish.
WHY IS TURTLES GETTING LESSER CONSUMPTION Unfortunately for sea turtles, their eggs are still considered highly desirable for a number of reasons. For example, some locals believes turtle eggs can give men an extra mile during sexual intercourse, there is no medical evidence that such is true. The consumption of turtle eggs continues to be a very serious problem. ARTIFICIAL LIGHTING Baby turtles find their way to the sea by the light reflected off the ocean. Artificial lighting from buildings, street lights, and beachfront properties has a disorienting effect on little turtles. The problem of beachfront lighting is not just limited to baby turtles. Adult turtles can mistakenly move inland after egg laying, and females tend to avoid areas where beachfront lightings is most intense. Turtle also abort nesting attempts more often in lighted areas.
BEACH ARMOURING Beach armoring includes the building of sea walls, sandbag installations, groins and jetties. Such practices save structures and property from erosion, but ultimately result in environmental damage and loss of a dry nesting beach. BEACH NOURISHMENT / BEACH CLEANING Beach nourishment is the practice of adding sand onto a beach to rebuild what has been lost through erosion. Beach nourishment affects turtles by direct burial of nests, or by disturbing nesting activity during the nesting season. Heavy equipment on beaches can pack the sand, making it impossible for turtle to dig proper nest. Human use of nesting beaches sometimes prompts beach cleaning activity, such as raking and the use of mechanical equipment. Not only can existing nests be disturbed by beach cleaning, it can also result in compacted beaches that are difficult or impossible to use for nesting.
PREDATORS Turtle eggs are particularly vulnerable to predators. Many animals seem to be aware of the nesting cycle of marine turtles, and eagerly gather to ravish nests once the turtles have made them. For example, monitor lizards have been known to destroy as much as 80% of all nests on a beach. The threat does not end when the egg is hatched. A hatchling must escape the clutches of animals and birds as it tries to reach the water, and even when it reaches the ocean, predators such as sharks await them. Of course, the most dangerous predator of all is Homo sapiens.
COMMERCIAL FISHERIES The most serious marine environment threat to turtles is commercial fishing. In some parts of the world, turtles are still hunted, both for food and for their shells. In places where turtle hunting is banned, the incidental taking of turtles during other fishing operations remains a major threat. Shrimp trawlers trap and drown turtles. Gill nets also snare turtles and frequently are not pulled soon enough to free the turtle before they drown.
OIL & GAS EXPLORATION Human attempts to exploit offshore oil & gas reserves pose a serious threat to marine turtles for several reasons. Activities associated with developing offshore oil and gas resources can destroy or seriously disrupt foraging habitat and nesting habitat. Dredging not only destroy habitat, it also results in the incidental injuring or killing of sea turtles. The presence of offshore structures alters the characteristics of nesting areas in ways that could well affect nesting habits. The exploitation of offshore oil and gas reserves also leads to oil spills and the presence of tar in the water. Both of these pollutants have serious effects on marine turtles. Oil on the skin and shell of a marine turtle can affect respiration and salt gland functions, as well as the turtle's blood chemistry. The ingestion of tar pellets is also a major concern. In was reported in 1985 that tar balls were the second most common type of ingested debris.
INGESTION OF MARINE DEBRIS We humans are terribly irresponsible when it comes to garbage thrown into the ocean or allowed to find its way there through neglect. This has numerous effects on the marine environment, but one particularly gruesome aspect of this problem is the ingestion of marine debris by turtles. It is widely assumed-and available evidence supports this theory--that hatchling turtles spend their "lost years" drifting with sargassum and other sea grasses. Unfortunately, drifting garbage collects in the same places as the seaweeds do. Young turtles inevitably attempt to eat some of this material, with devastating consequences. Plastic resembles food closely enough to fool even a mature turtle. Ingested plastic is not only toxic, it also obstructs the stomach and prevents the turtle from receiving nutrition from real food. This can often lead to a lingering death.
The Sea is not a garbage can. It is where most of our food comes from. Would you want to eat from a garbage can? Source: Marine Conservation Society, U.K.
IS THAT ALL No, of course not. We have listed just the most serious threats. There are strings of others for example the use of sodium cyanide in fishing, blast fishing, fertilizer that seeps into the sea has the same destructive effects as sewage. It won't hurt to review the list of threats provided here, and then ponder how many of them are the direct result of humans and their activities. We like to think of ourselves as the only intelligent species,but anyone looking over a list like this should immediately question just how smart we really are. It is not a question of compassion, a trait not all of us share. It is a question of survival, for if we callously allow ourselves to destroy species, there is no reason why our destructive behavior will not ultimately eliminate us too.