Why are Sea Turtles Endangered?

 

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has identified five major hazards to sea turtles: 

 

  • Fisheries: Sea turtles virtually everywhere are affected by fisheries, especially longlines, gill nets, and trawls. The most severe of these impacts are death after entanglement, habitat destruction and food web changes.

 

  • Direct Take: Sea turtles and their eggs are killed by people throughout the world for food, and for products including oil, leather and shell.

 

  • Coastal Development: Sea turtle habitats are degraded and destroyed by coastal development. This includes both shoreline and seafloor alterations, such as nesting beach degradation, seafloor dredging, vessel traffic, construction, and alteration of vegetation.

 

  • Pollution: Plastics, discarded fishing gear, petroleum by-products, and other debris harm and kill sea turtles through ingestion and entanglement. Light pollution disrupts nesting behavior and causes hatchling death by leading them away from the sea. Chemical pollutants can weaken sea turtles’ immune systems, making them susceptible to disease.

 

  • Climate change: Climate change will increase the frequency of extreme weather events, result in loss of nesting beaches, and cause other alterations to critical sea turtle habitats and basic oceanographic processes. It may impact natural sex ratios of hatchlings and increase the likelihood of disease outbreaks for sea turtles.

 

 

Beach destruction - Beachcare.org

bycatch-leatherback - Tamar IBAMA

 

 

What is Extinction?

A plant or animal becomes extinct when the last living individual of its species dies, causing it to vanish from the earth forever. If there is ever a time when the last green turtle on earth dies, then never again will this creature grace our world.

Species have been going extinct for millions of years; it is a natural part of the evolutionary process. For example, most of the species that existed during the time of dinosaurs have perished. Many probably went extinct because of sudden geological or climatic changes -- possibly because of a large volcanic eruption or because of a giant meteor hitting the earth.

Today, however, species are going extinct because of abrupt changes brought about by humans. Habitat destruction, pollution and over-consumption are causing species to decline at a rate never before seen in history. This loss of species is eroding the diversity of life on earth, and a loss of diversity can make all life vulnerable.

The above is from the excellent Caribbean Conservation Corporation web site.