WORLD SEA TURTLE DAY
Every year on June 16th, World Sea Turtle Day highlights the importance of sea turtles. The day also encourages global supporters to dive into the threats that sea turtles face.
Did you know that sea turtles have been on the earth for over 100 million years? This means that sea turtles co-existed with dinosaurs. There are seven species of sea turtles. These include green, hawksbill, Kemp’s ridley, leatherback, loggerhead, and the Olive ridley. Of these species of sea turtles, the leatherback is the largest. The leatherback sea turtle weighs anywhere from 550 to 2,000 pounds! This type of sea turtle grows up to six feet in length. Sea turtles live in both cool and warm waters throughout the world. However, the flatback can only be found in Australia.
Sea Turtle Facts
- Sea turtles can live between 50 to 100 years.
- Some sea turtles travel more than 1,000 miles to return to their nesting ground.
- Sea turtles nest multiple times, about two weeks apart, and lay up to 125 eggs per nest.
- Most sea turtles nest at night, except for the Kemp’s ridley.
- Leatherback sea turtles can dive nearly 4,000 feet into the water.
- Unlike other kinds of turtles, sea turtles cannot retreat into their shell.
- A large group of nesting sea turtles is called an “arribadas”, which is Spanish for “arrival.”
One more interesting fact is that the temperature of the nest determines the sea turtle’s sex. Male hatchlings are born in cooler temperatures. When temperatures in the next are warm it produces female hatchlings. Fluctuating temperatures produce a mix of male and female baby sea turtles.
Unfortunately, nearly every species of sea turtle is considered endangered. The hawksbills and Kemp’s ridley are both critically endangered. Entanglement in marine debris, destruction of habitats, and poaching for meat and eggs are among the top reasons for their endangerment.
HOW TO OBSERVE #WorldSeaTurtleDay
On this day, conservation organizations and zoos organize a variety of events. These events include exhibits, beach cleanups, and educational seminars on how to protect the sea turtles. To participate:
- Donate to a marine wildlife organization that works to protect the sea turtles.
- Adopt a sea turtle through the Marine Conservation Society.
- Avoid throwing plastic and other harmful debris into waterways and encourage others to do the same.
- Watch movies that feature sea turtles, such as Finding Nemo, A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures, Turtle: The Incredible Journey, and Moana.
Spread awareness for this day on social media with #WorldSeaTurtleDay.
WORLD SEA TURTLE DAY HISTORY
In the year 2000, turtle conservation organizations came together to create World Sea Turtle Day. June 16th was chosen to honor the birthday of Dr. Archie Carr, a renowned sea turtle conservationist. Dr. Carr also founded the Sea Turtle Conservancy in Gainesville, Florida.