Missing Sea Turtles

Chelonioidea

Characteristics

The turtles are large, weighty sea turtles with wide, smooth shells. They may be found inhabiting tropical and subtropical coastal waters around the world and they have been observed clambering onto land to sunbathe. The adults are primarily found in shallow, coastal waters, bays, lagoons, and estuaries, however, some also venture into the open sea. Juveniles will be found in bays and estuaries, as well as at sea. Be aware, they can get very old and very slow so if found please be courteous of their inabilities. Sea turtles, especially green sea turtles, are one of the very few animals to eat sea grass. Sea turtles act as grazing animals that cut the grass short and help maintain the health of the sea grass beds. Sea grass beds are important because they provide breeding and developmental grounds for many species of fish, shellfish and crustaceans.

Why Should You Care?

Nearly all species of sea turtle are classified as endangered. Without sea grass beds, many marine species humans harvest would be lost, as would the lower levels of the food chain. The reactions could result in many more marine species being lost and eventually impacting humans. Sea turtles are slaughtered for their eggs, meat, skin and shells, and they suffer from poaching and over-exploitation. They also face habitat destruction and accidental capture in fishing gear. Climate change also has an impact on turtle nesting sites. Sea turtles are important to ocean ecosystems. They maintain marine habitats, help cycle nutrients, and are part of a balanced food web. As they decline, it affects the health of the world’s ocean.

Three Main Types

We Need Your Help!

Sea turtles are one of the Earth's most ancient creatures. The seven species that can be found today have been around for 110 million years, since the time of the dinosaurs. They can be found in all warm and temperate waters throughout the world and migrate hundreds of miles between nesting and feeding grounds. Most sea turtles undergo long migrations, some as far as 1400 miles, between their feeding grounds and the beaches where they nest. If sea turtles go extinct, there would be a serious decline in sea grass beds and a decline in all the other species dependent upon the grass beds for survival. All parts of an ecosystem are important, if you lose one piece of the chain, the rest will eventually follow.