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Endangered Sea Turtles

July 27, 2015

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Nearly every species of sea turtle is endangered. Why are sea turtles in so much trouble? There are a number of reasons. For one, extreme weather related to climate change has decimated nesting spots and turtle habitats. Another reason is that turtles can become trapped in nets from commercial fisheries and die as a result. Water pollution is another big problem for sea turtles; turtles often ingest garbage found in the ocean and this can cause death. Read on to learn a bit more about some of the most endangered sea turtles in the world. 

Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle

The Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle inhabits the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico from Louisiana all the way up to New Jersey. They are the world's most endangered species of turtle, with a female nesting population of only 1,000 around the world. These turtles can live for up to 50 years and weigh up to 100 pounds. Their population has suffered largely due to harvesting of eggs. 

The Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle is the most endangered sea turtle in the worldThe Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle is the most endangered sea turtle in the worldCourtesy of Stock Image

Hawksbill Sea Turtle

Hawksbill Sea Turtles are critically endangered and live in the tropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. They live for between 20 and 50 years and can reach a weight of 150 pounds. Despite turtle conservation laws, Hawksbills are often killed by humans for their eggs and for their beautiful shells. 

Hawksbill Sea Turtles are often killed for their unique-looking shellsHawksbill Sea Turtles are often killed for their unique-looking shellsCourtesy of Sea Turtle World

Loggerhead Sea Turtle

Although Loggerhead Sea Turtles can be considered the most common of United States sea turtles, their population has been dwindling for decades because of commercial fishing and pollution. These guys can grow up to 250 pounds and can move through the water at 15 miles per hour. 

Loggerhead Sea Turtles are at risk largely due to pollutionLoggerhead Sea Turtles are at risk largely due to pollutionCourtesy of Brian J. Skerry

Green Sea Turtle

The Green Sea Turtle is the largest on our list - it can weigh as much as 700 pounds! The Green Sea Turtle was named for its skin color rather than its shell color, and lives in tropical waters around the world. These creates are often killed for meat and eggs, even though they are listed as an endangered species. 

The largest Green Sea Turtle ever recorded was 871 pounds!The largest Green Sea Turtle ever recorded was 871 pounds!Courtesy of Animal Fact Guide
 

You may have noticed that nearly every reason for sea turtle endangerment has to do with human interference, whether that be direct (as in hunting) or indirect (like global warming). There are things that you can to do help have a positive effect on the environment, which will in turn have a positive effect on those creatures that rely on the health of that environment. You can start a green initiative in your school or town in order to improve conditions, or organize a beach clean up with some of your friends. We can all make a difference in keeping animal ecosystems intact! 

Have Your Say! 

Have you ever seen a sea turtle? How big was it?