Life is not an easy task for turtles. Hatchling Caretta caretta loggerheads have to face so many perils in their very early life only one in 1000 to 10 000 survives. They easily become a meal for nest and eggs predators, such as crabs, raccoons, ants and snakes during the incubation period.
After they emerge from the sand, hatchlings struggle to get the sea. They have to do that in the night because when the sun rises they can dry out or be eaten by other animals. When they finally get the ocean, young turtles swim and swim for 20 hours and more in order to be safe.
Once they become adult, it is pretty rare for a sea turtle to be attacked by a predator. In spite of this, Loggerhead Turtles population has dramatically decreased over the past few decades and this is not happening because nature takes its course. This is happening because turtles have to face new threats, the ones created by humans.
There are many ways we are putting the survival of this wonderful species in danger but today we’ll talk about responsible tourism in particular. There are 6 simple things we all have to do in order to avoid unnecessary dangers to turtles.
Don’t feed turtles from the boats
Feeding turtles from the boats is a fun activity for tourists but not for the turtles. By doing so, Caretta caretta turtles are attracted by the food and they get closer to the boats so visitors can see them swimming in their natural habitat.
What tourists generally don’t know is that this is also one of the main causes of death for turtles. They take a huge risk getting closer to the boats and they are often killed or mutilated by propellers. That’s why it’s so important not to feed them from the boats.
Keep the beach clean from trash
Did you know more than 100 million marine animals die every year because of plastic rubbish left on the beach or in the streets?
This is a huge matter for turtles too. They can accidentally eat plastic bags mistaking them for food and this can lead to serious injuries or death. Please remember to take all the rubbish with you before leaving a beach.
Don’t disturb nesting females
Human activity on turtles’ nesting beaches, especially at night, can disturb turtles and lead them to not emerge from the sea or even stop them from nesting. During this period, the nesting areas shouldn’t be used from humans, so turtles have plenty of space to nest.
Turn off the lights
Female Caretta caretta need dark and quiet beaches to lay their eggs. Otherwise, they could be pushed to choose other less suitable locations, resulting in less probability of the nesting being successful.
Also, when hatchlings emerge from the sand, they are attracted to the sea by the shining of the moon and the stars on the water. Night lighting can cause confusion and lead them toward the land, instead of the ocean. Here they die because of dehydration or predation. That’s why it’s so important not to keep the lights on during the night time.
Help reduce the ocean pollution
One thing we all can do to protect marine species is to opt for biodegradable products, or at least less toxic chemicals. Sea pollution, indeed, is causing serious diseases to turtles, like fibropapillomatosis. This is a benign epithelial tumour that develops on turtles’ external tissues like genitals, eyes, neck, tail and armpits that ultimately impedes vision, swallowing and movement. Sometimes it can also grow on internal organs and interfere with system functioning.
Help volunteers in their activities, for example cleaning the beaches or spreading the word on how to protect turtles with a few simple actions. Alternatively, you can support our Foundation with a small contribution here. Your donation will make a difference for many turtles.
These amazing animals can live very long lives, up to 65 years. Please help us to keep making this possible.