Today, Monday 23 May, is World Turtle Day where people are encouraged to learn more about turtles and tortoises, and help protect them and their habitats, which are rapidly disappearing around the world.
Turtle Day is celebrated worldwide in a variety of ways, from dressing up as turtles to saving turtles caught on highways, to research activities.
World Turtle Day was to increase respect and knowledge for the world's oldest creatures. Turtles are reptiles, characterised by a special bony or cartilaginous shell developed from their ribs that acts as a shield. These gentle animals have been around for about 200 million years, yet they are rapidly disappearing as a result of the exotic food industry, habitat destruction and the cruel pet trade.
You can do a few small things that can help to save turtles and tortoises for the next generation. Never buy them from a pet shop as it increases demand from the wild. Never remove turtles or tortoises from the wild unless they are sick or injured. If a tortoise is crossing a busy street, pick it up and send it in the same direction it was going. Report cruelty or illegal sales of turtles and tortoises to your local animal control shelter.
Last week I stayed in Bournemouth with my mother, and during our stay we visited the Oceanarium near to Bournemouth Pier. We were able to see the animals being feed at various times through out the day, including, otters, penquins, sharks and the turtles. The two enormous turtles called Crusoe and Friday were marvelous, they are Green sea turtles and are one of the largest sea turtles. The male turtle Friday, has a longer tail and the colouring of their shells were tones of brown and olive green. It is estimated the pair are between 25-30 years old.
Here is just one of many pictures I took of the Sea turtles.
Sea turtles, which have been in existence for more than 100 million years, are under threat. Nearly all seven species worldwide are now classified as endangered, largely because of human activities such as poaching, the destruction of nesting sites and climate change, all of which is pushing turtles ever closer to extinction.
So why are sea turtles under threat, and what can we do about it?
Hunted for their shells which are used to make jewellery and other items, for centuries. The distinctive, patterned shell of the hawksbill sea turtle means the species is under threat despite the shell trade being illegal. As a result, hawksbills are critically endangered.
Our changing climate has a significant impact on a turtle's life, including the sex of the offspring. The warmer temperatures caused by climate change disrupt the normal sex ratios, resulting in more female hatchlings – which reduces reproductive opportunities and decreases genetic diversity.
Melting polar ice caps and rising sea levels erode the coastal habitats of sea turtles, shrinking the size of their nesting beaches.
The loss of their habitat. The destruction of nesting beaches as a result of tourism has had an extremely detrimental impact on turtles. The disturbance of nesting females can cause turtles to stop nesting entirely and return to the ocean. Coral reefs and seagrass beds, which provide feeding habitats for turtles, are being damaged as a result of tourist development, certain fishing techniques, climate change and more.
Keeping beaches clean and avoiding littering is key. Turning off beach lighting can help prevent nesting turtles from becoming disorientated, as nesting turtles and turtle hatchlings are guided by moonlight.
So I am sure you agree we must do our best to keep these wonderful creatures from extinction and not just be able to see them in captivity but also in their natural environment.
Member since: 27th May 2014
Hi! I'm Ann and with my husband John, said 'Farewell' to bestof on 31st July 2017 and are returning to the horticultural trade. Thank you to everyone past and present for reading my blogs.