Did you know that six of the seven species of sea turtles are already endangered? Conservation efforts to protect sea turtles have become popular around the world. Sea turtles help in maintaining the balance of the ecosystem. Id like to share with you some reasons why sea turtles are important in our ecosystem, and tips for becoming an affective advocate.
It's been estimated that only 1 in 1,000 hatchlings will survive to adulthood. A natural nest has a hatching success rate of about 80-100%, while a relocated nest will have a much lower hatching success rate of 60-70%. The sea turtle eggs that don’t hatch provide dunes and beaches with nutrients. The vegetation that grows on the dunes keeps the sand in place and prevents erosion.
The constant grazing of sea turtle helps keep grass beds healthy. Seagrass beds serve as breeding grounds for other species, but grass beds must be cut short in order for it to continue growing across the ocean floor. If there are no sea turtles to graze upon seagrass beds, many species will be affected and left with no place to feed and live. This will cause a significant decline in marine life.
Improving awareness about sea turtle conservation is one of the best ways to expand how many people protect marine creatures. You can join volunteer programs and participate in local projects to help protect the ocean and sea turtles. Many of these projects accept hardworking and passionate volunteers. You can work together with expert local researchers and biologists who manage the nesting grounds in your area.
They conduct beach patrols every night to make sure that nesting grounds are safe from poachers. They also clean beaches, record findings, tag sea turtles for data and relocate nests into protected hatcheries. Some organizations educate locals about the ocean and sea turtle conservancy. They improve awareness about the importance of protecting the beach and marine life.
Look for a volunteer program that has a credible reputation. Read reviews of past participants to get an idea about the program. Volunteer packages usually include in-country support, home-stays, meals and airport pick up. The program’s customer service representatives should be able to answer your questions.
Even if you don’t have enough funds to join a volunteer program, you can still do your part in protecting the ocean and sea turtles. When going to the beach, make sure to use reusable water bottles, or stainless steel straws. Rubbish can harm sea turtles and other marine creatures. They can mistake it for food and choke on it. If you built sandcastles, knock it down before leaving the beach as it becomes an obstacle for hatchlings and nesting turtles. If you see holes, fill it up as well. Put away recreational beach equipment at night to avoid disturbing nesting sea turtles.
Don’t go near nesting grounds, especially during the nesting season. Attending organized sea turtle watches can help you learn more about sea turtles. Artificial light disrupts nesting sea turtles and confuse hatchlings, so shield or turn off artificial sources of lights that are visible from the beach.
Sea turtle conservation programs are offered throughout the year, but nesting seasons differ. Choose the time that’s most convenient for you. You can join a conservation program anytime if you are more interested in improving its administration and facilities. If you want to work directly with the sea turtles, it’s crucial that you know the nesting season.
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