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Sea Turtles: Things Even a Shell Can't Protect

Sea Turtles are beautiful creatures who are facing some problems.

Pic: Why fall for cheap, plastic imitations?
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Pic: Why fall for cheap, plastic imitations?

Sea Turtles are typically known for being carnivorous animals, mainly living off of jellyfish. However with all the plastic bags that are being dumped into the ocean the Sea Turtles are at a huge risk of mistaking the plastic bag for a jellyfish, eating it and dying form suffocation. The rate of this happening is increasing and if something isn't done then the Sea Turtles have some pretty rough swimming ahead of them.

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Pic: Help me please! I'm stuck and can't move!
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Pic: Help me please! I'm stuck and can't move!

As you can see in order to return to the ocean the Sea Turtle needs to be free to move, and that's impossible while being trapped under a chair. A huge problem that sea turtles face it that they keep getting stuck, and tangled in things like chairs or nets, and they end up drowning. This is especially bad on certain beaches where people fail to clean up trash.

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Statistics: Cool facts about  Leather-backs
lacquaviva.com

Statistics: Cool facts about Leather-backs

An extremely large and heavy animal the Leather-back Turtle is known as being the largest turtle recorded on earth. They are a carnivorous species who's favorite meal is a nice jellyfish. As it grows a typical adult Leather-back can weigh up to 2,000 lbs.(probably due to their large shells that cover their bodies), a height of 7 feet, and live to be 47 years old. Being able to make migrations over 3,000 miles the Leather-backs are extremely fast swimmers, and can be found all over the world especially in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. They are known to live alone most of the time, unless of course their mating which they do in groups.

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Statistic: The Life Cycle of a Turtle
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Statistic: The Life Cycle of a Turtle

This info-graphic presents a large amount of fact related to the leather back sea turtle. The typical life cycle of the leather back goes egg, hatching, young migratory adult, to full adult ready to mate. Also presented here are just a few of the everyday threats that face Leather Backs face the big ones being illegal trade,by catch, and habitat destruction. Unlike some of it's other sea turtle family the Leather-back isn't doing so good, and if we aren't careful there may no longer be anymore of these guys left!

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Website: Sea Turtles could be the answer to increasing jellyfish populations
seaturtleinc.org

Website: Sea Turtles could be the answer to increasing jellyfish populations

In recent years there has been an increase in jellyfish populations in certain areas, and this can cause major negative changes in underwater environments. There seems as though there is only one answer to this jellyfish problem and that is bring back the jellyfish's natural predators, and since jellyfish are Sea Turtles main source of food this seems highly appropriate and effective. However the only problem to this is that given that Sea Turtles can't tell the difference between plastic bags and jellyfish, and that can put the Turtles even more at risk.

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Website: Harmless Sea Turtles are becoming innocent victims of by catch
seeturtles.org

Website: Harmless Sea Turtles are becoming innocent victims of by catch

This talks about the problem that Sea Turtles are having with becoming by-catch. Possibly one of the leading causes of endangerment for Sea Turtles, sea turtles are swimming into these nets filled with hooks and bait that have been set up by fisheries for other fish. Sea Turtles aren't the only fish species that are being killed and tossed aside as accidental by catch, other marine, and sea life have also fallen victim to by catch.

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News: Habitat Loss may cause Sea Turtles to become homeless
blog.cwf-fcf.org

News: Habitat Loss may cause Sea Turtles to become homeless

SUMMARY: Leather-Back Sea Turtles are nesting animals who rely on beaches to use as places to use as their nesting grounds for their eggs, and where their eggs will spend the first part of their lives maturing into young Leather-Backs before going into the ocean. However it's been found that these nesting grounds have been disappearing due to a wide variety of reasons, including rising sea levels, housing development on coasts, and other forms of habitat destruction. This is proving to be very problematic since now it's harder for their hatchlings to find the nests in order to survive until they can return to the oceans. IMPACTS/SUSTAINABILITY : This brings up some bad news for the Leather-Backs. If this continues to progress then there is a chance that they may not be able to return to their hatching nests due to the confusing lights or destroyed coastlines, and this could potentially have a very large and negative impact on the Sea Turtle population. This is also having a negative impact on the hatch-lings causing them to go the wrong way and go towards land where there's a larger chance of them being attacked by predators. CAUSES/CONNECTIONS: While a small part of the cause of this may be natural, the majority is caused by man. The buildings that humans build create an unnatural light that can throw a Sea Turtle off track, as well as the fact that whenever resorts are built on beaches the shorelines can become messed up as well. Much like in the case of the floating trash bags in the ocean, and the illegal trading of Sea Turtles humans unintentionally contributing to the decrease in Sea Turtle population.

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News: More females due to climate change
smithsonianmag.com

News: More females due to climate change

SUMMARY: In the last few years there has been a huge increase in the female population of Sea Turtles, in a study found in the article scientist found out that now the population of Sea Turtles is now 86.8. This is an effect caused by climate change. This is because the sex of a sea turtle is decided by the climate, however since the temperatures have been warmer there has been way more females born in the last few years than males. SUSTAINABILITY/IMPACT: With the rise in females there has been a slight decrease in the male population, and this can be extremely dangerous for the population. The less amount of males there are the more difficult it will be for the Sea Turtles to reproduce quickly.
CONNECTIONS: Now the sex of a Sea Turtle isn't the only negative impact that climate change will have on the Sea Turtles, climate change can cause the water levels to rise and flood the shores of the beaches that the sea turtles nests are. Without a place to nest the sea turtles won't have to worry about the sex of their eggs. Looks like humans aren't the only species affected by climate change.

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Solution 1: 5 Steps to recovery
oceana.org

Solution 1: 5 Steps to recovery

Just because things look bleak for the Sea Turtles that doesn't mean that it's entirely hopeless for them. There are 5 specific steps that humans can do the help this problem, 1.Minimize the amount of light on the beach, 2.Avoid having beach fires while Sea Turtles are nesting, 3. Keep beaches and water ways trash free, 4. Don't disturb females while their nesting, and 5. Stay alert , and aware while boating. Although they may not seem like much they are little, yet effective things that people can do in order to help the Sea Turtles.

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Solution 2: How to reduce the amount of bycatch
oceana.org

Solution 2: How to reduce the amount of bycatch

Sea Turtles are at risk of falling unnecessary victims of by-catch, and this can lead to an even worse decline in their population. However there are 3 things that fisheries can do in order to reduce the amount of by-catch, 1. Count and monitor the amount of fish that are in each population, 2. they can start setting science based limits on the amount of fish caught as by-catch, and 3. they can start using smarter solutions like cleaning their gear, and monitoring how much fish is caught. Using these methods to reduce by-catch will not only help the amount of Sea Turtles being caught, but as well as any other fish who might fall victim to by-catch.

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Conclusion
worldwildlife.org

Conclusion

Sea Turtles are a really unique species with 7 different sub-species, and varieties. However they are at risk facing a lot of problems such as pollution,effects from climate change, and habitat loss that are lowering their population. That doesn't mean that there isn't any hope. Populations are starting to increase a little bit and in order to help the recovery speed up we can start doing things like regulating by-catch laws, and helping keep their habitats safe and clean.

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