Guest Blog by Brielle Albert
Sea turtles have been around for approximately 110 million years! However, due primarily to human activity, six of the seven species of sea turtles are now classified as endangered, with the seventh on the threatened (likely to become endangered) list. This guide gives you the best ways that you can help to save these wonderful creatures.
1. Source responsibly
We all love nature and the creatures it contains, whether that’s as a source of food, recreation, or decorative items like an elephant bracelet. What’s important to remember is to check that what you’re buying is ethically sourced. For example, turtles are often caught accidentally through fishing methods like trawling. If you only buy fish or seafood that is responsibly caught, you’ll be purchasing from companies that don’t allow that to happen, meaning that you’re helping to protect turtles.
2. Spread the word
One of the best ways to protect any animal, including sea turtles, is by educating people. The main threats that turtles face are accidental catching when fishing, pollution, poaching, coastal development, and climate change. By talking to other people about these threats and, more importantly, how to reduce them, you can make a real difference.
3. Avoid beaches at night
Nesting turtles might be scared away if they are disrupted, and nighttime is when they are most active. To help the turtles further, you can move any obstacles - such as beach furniture - away in the evening to give the animals a clear path to and from the sea. As well as that, nesting adults and hatchlings use the natural light provided by the moon to guide them to see. Artificial light can distract and disorient them, so try to keep beaches as dark as possible overnight.
4. Stop using plastic
Single-use plastic items are very harmful to marine health. If these materials are thrown in the trash, there is the risk of them ending up in the ocean. How you can help with this is by switching to alternative products where possible. For example, take reusable canvas bags when grocery shopping or keep a water bottle with you to save buying new ones. Plastic bags are particularly harmful as turtles may mistake these for jellyfish, which they love to eat.
5. Reduce your impact on the environment
Climate change has led to a gender imbalance in sea turtles and has made some of their habitats unsuitable. Rising sea levels and higher oceanic temperatures pose threats to these animals. So, reducing your own impact on the environment can really help. Not only that, but this helps in other ways and protects many other plants and animals too. Simple ways to reduce your personal impact include walking or cycling instead of driving, reducing the amount of meat in your diet, and buying locally produced foods.
Brielle Albert is a writer and digital marketing professional. She earned her Bachelor of Science Degree at New York University. Brielle has professional experience in social media marketing and copywriting.