There's an old saying that one person can only do so much, but a little help from everyone can go far, even in saving one of Earth's most endangered species, the sea turtles.
According to WWF, tens of thousands of these ancient mariners perish every year due to illegal trade and over-exploitation. Adding to these threats is the habitat destruction brought by climate change and human activities.
These creatures have existed for over a hundred million years. With only seven species of sea turtles left at present, five of them are in endangered status.
People might not realize it, but the existence of sea turtles is vital to ecology. Sea turtles are known as the "grazers" of the seagrass beds. Their role is not as is simple as preventing the blades from growing across the sea, but their grazing behavior provides a positive effect on many marine species.
According to Conserveturtles.org, by maintaining the health of the seagrass beds, the sea turtles provide breeding and developmental grounds for many species of fish, shellfish and crustaceans. Without them, many marine species will cease to exist.
Several countries are doing their share in protecting the sea turtles. There have also been international laws and agreements passed to ensure that the measures are executed.
But as individuals, here are some things you can do to help save our sea turtles.
Minimize beach lighting
Nesting sea turtles prefer to lay eggs on dark quiet beach shorelines. However, because most beaches are commercialized, their nesting process is disturbed. In addition, hatchlings have the inborn instinct to move according to the direction of the light.
Naturally, the light should come from the moonlight reflecting off the ocean. The artificial lights near the shores, however, confuse them and make them wander where they should not be. Wandering hatchlings often die of dehydration and gets killed by predators.
Keep the beaches clean
As mentioned, sea turtles lay eggs on sands. The simplest way you can assist them is by keeping the beach clean. You must also be careful when stepping on the sand to prevent yourself from accidentally stepping on their eggs. Be conscious of where their nesting areas are.
Be informed and be active
In many states where sea turtles nest, state laws have been passed to protect the species. If you happen to see a female sea turtle emerging from the sea to lay its eggs on the shore, do not disturb it by getting close. Always report any sea turtle activity to local marine organizations around the area; this includes seeing injured or dead sea turtles.
Here is where you can donate to save sea turtles.
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