WWF Canada Blog:
Oceans

News, views and analysis from our team as we work to create solutions to conservation challenges facing our planet.


Species of the Week: The Sea Turtle!

Ancient and endangered.  For more than 100 million years, sea turtles have covered vast distances across the world’s oceans, performing a vital and integral role in marine and coastal ecosystems.  Sea turtles can be found around the world in the Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans, the Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas, the Gulf of Mexico, northern Australia, and southern Papua New Guinea.

Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), close-up. Coral reef, Red Sea. </br> © Frédéric Monnot / WWF-Canon

Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), close-up. Coral reef, Red Sea.
© Frédéric Monnot / WWF-Canon

Sadly, the future of these ancient turtle species is at risk.  Over the last 200 years, human activities have tipped the scales against the survival of these mariners.  Urgent global action is needed to ensure their outcome.

Green turtle (Chelonia mydas), hatchling coming out of egg,  Juani Island,  part of the Mafia Marine Park which was created with the support of  WWF. Tanzania © Roger Hooper / WWF-Canon

Green turtle (Chelonia mydas), hatchling coming out of egg, Juani Island, part of the Mafia Marine Park which was created with the support of WWF. Tanzania © Roger Hooper / WWF-Canon

What is causing sea turtle populations to decrease?  There are several reasons.

  • Uncontrolled development has led directly to the destruction of critically important nesting beaches.
  • Hunting and egg collection for consumption and international trade in products, such as tortoiseshell, are major causes for the drastic decline.
  • Annually, hundreds of thousands of sea turtles are incidentally caught around the world in trawls, on long-line hooks, and in fishing nets.
  • The number of male and female sea turtle offspring is determined by temperature.  Changing climate could therefore skew sex ratios and threaten population survival.
  • Fibropapillomas,  a tumourous disease that can kill sea turtles, is believed to be caused by runoff from land or marine pollution.
Symbolically adopt a sea turtle from our online store and help support WWF’s conservation efforts.  © WWF-Canada

Symbolically adopt a sea turtle from our online store and help support WWF’s conservation efforts. © WWF-Canada

WWF’s Global Marine Turtle Program is working to protect the sea turtle and stop the loss and degradation of its critical marine habitat.  By symbolically adopting a sea turtle or other species, you’re supporting WWF’s conservation efforts.   Each adoption kit includes a wildlife plush animal, personalized adoption certificate, paper gift bag, species poster and information pamphlet, and a charitable tax receipt for a portion of your purchase.  To adopt a species today and give an extraordinary gift, visit our online store.