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5 Reasons to Love Turtles on World Turtle Day

Sea turtles are arguably one of the coolest creatures on the planet – what else has four flippers, a streamlined shell for swimming and a lineage as old as the dinosaurs?

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Photo © Don Whitebread

Sea turtles are arguably one of the coolest creatures on the planet – what else has four flippers, a streamlined shell for swimming and a lineage as old as the dinosaurs?

But all seven of the world's sea turtle species – Hawskbill, green, flatback, loggerhead, Kemp's ridley, olive ridley and leatherback -- are at risk from human activity such as fishing, hunting and, of course, climate change.

In honor of World Turtle Day on May 23, spend a little time getting to know sea turtles and find out how you can help protect these magnificent creatures in one of their most important habitats, the Coral Triangle.

1. Mature female sea turtles can lay clutches of 50-200 eggs, depending on the species. That may sound like a lot, but very few hatchlings will survive: Only 1 in a 1,000 will reach adulthood.
Photo © Bridget Besaw.

1. Mature female sea turtles can lay clutches of 50-200 eggs, depending on the species. That may sound like a lot, but very few hatchlings will survive: Only 1 in a 1,000 will reach adulthood.

2. After entering the sea, hatchlings spend 5-7 years floating in the open ocean and feeding on zooplankton near the ocean’s surface.

2. After entering the sea, hatchlings spend 5-7 years floating in the open ocean and feeding on zooplankton near the ocean’s surface.

3. It can take decades for a sea turtle to reach sexual maturity. But when the female is ready to lay eggs, she returns to the same nesting beach where she was born – even if she hasn’t been back in 30 years.
Photo © Bridget Besaw.

3. It can take decades for a sea turtle to reach sexual maturity. But when the female is ready to lay eggs, she returns to the same nesting beach where she was born – even if she hasn’t been back in 30 years.

4. Sea turtles face many threats: Human development and coastal destruction are ruining beaches used by turtles to nest, and climate change is rapidly destroying the coral reefs where turtles live and feed. Other threats include harvesting eggs for food and hunting Hawksbills for their colorful shells.
Photo © Jeff Yonover.

4. Sea turtles face many threats: Human development and coastal destruction are ruining beaches used by turtles to nest, and climate change is rapidly destroying the coral reefs where turtles live and feed. Other threats include harvesting eggs for food and hunting Hawksbills for their colorful shells.

5. Scientists estimate that the global Hawksbill population has declined by 80% over the last century. But there are some bright spots: In the Arnavon Islands, conservation efforts have resulted in an incredible 100% increase in the number of sea turtle nests laid each year.
Photo © Bridget Besaw.

5. Scientists estimate that the global Hawksbill population has declined by 80% over the last century. But there are some bright spots: In the Arnavon Islands, conservation efforts have resulted in an incredible 100% increase in the number of sea turtle nests laid each year.

Two Ways You Can Support Sea Turtles Right Now!

Visit us here to find out how you can be a sea turtle hero today!

Also, The Nature Conservancy is sharing tons of great turtle related content on the mobile app WeChat.

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Follow us today! More details and a direct link are available here.