So today is World Sea Turtle Day. Did you know that six out of the seven species of sea turtles are threatened with extinction?
One of the major threats to sea turtles and other ocean dwelling animals is plastic waste. Somehow, someway plastic bags wind up in the oceans, and turtles thinking that they’re jelly fish eat them. They aren’t the only ones that mistake plastic bags for food in the oceans (whales will ingest them as they’re foraging for fish).
I’ve managed to only see green sea turtles in the wild, and that was when I went to the big island of Hawai’i for a week long vacation (almost a decade ago). I have seen them in aquariums, and rehab centers.
When we went down to South Padre Island a few years ago for vacation, we visited Sea Turtle Inc. This center rescues, rehabs, and then releases sea turtles back into the wild (if they can). They also make note of all nesting females, rescue the eggs, and then do hatchling releases in hopes that a greater percentage of young sea turtles actually make it into the ocean. Watching a hatchling release is something that is still on my bucket list of things to do–I would say I’d adopt a sea turtle, but I don’t think I could figure out how to build a big enough salt pool for it to live in (especially since I would want to adopt a leatherback sea turtle (and they’re the largest of the sea turtles)).
Of course the second best place to see a sea turtle (after seeing one in the wild) is at an aquarium. While I was out in Boston, the aquarium was one place that I loved to visit (even though it was pricey). They had several sea turtles in the large center tank, and this picture was probably the best one I got from all the times I visited. It was always difficult to find a place to stand, where you weren’t going to be blocking the view for someone else.
So again, lets try to start cutting down on the plastic waste. If you get plastic bags at the store–reuse them or take them back and most stores will recycle them. Find another use for them–use them until they basically fall apart–or better yet cut them up into little pieces before tossing them away. True they may still end up in the oceans–but if they’re just pieces of plastic maybe fewer animals will mistake them for food and ingest them. We aren’t the only species living on the this earth–but we’re the ones destroying it, therefore we have to be the ones to save it as well.