World Turtle Day
23rd May 2021
How can we help?
Turtles are not the only creatures who fall victim to our careless plastic pollution however, today is world turtle day! Plastic straws and bags might look tasty to a turtle... little did the Turtle know that, that may have been his/her last snack :(
(Reduce) > Reuse > Repurpose > Recycle
One way you can help is to simply look out for, collect and correctly dispose of any plastic you might see at the beach or on the side of the road. Another way you can help is to (Reduce) use/purchase as little plastic as you can, then 'upcycle' (Reuse/Repurpose) and finally (Recycle) and of course use plastic alternatives play a part where possible. Not only does incorrectly disposed plastic wreak havoc on our oceans but so does the production of virgin plastics... mining oil out of the ocean can cause catastrophic devastation to marine eco-systems.
World Turtle Day is an opportunity for awareness-raising of the issues surrounding sea turtles and their their rapidly disappearing natural habitats all over the world. Turtles need our help! Coastcare Groups in Western Australia are working hard to care and protect areas along the 13,500 km of coastline that are home to six species of sea turtles. You can support their work by donating to Coastcare here: Click here
World Turtle Day was founded in 1990 by the American Tortoise Rescue – a non-profit organization that sponsors this holiday annually. It was created so people could not only celebrate turtles but also so they can join in the effort to protect turtles and tortoises all over the world. Since the day it was founded, the American Tortoise Rescue has placed over three-thousand turtles and tortoises into caring homes.
World Sea Turtle Day is celebrated on 16 June. But with 8 million tonnes of plastic dumped in our oceans every year, these amazing creatures are under threat. In fact, six out of seven species of marine turtle are threatened with extinction.
Here, we share 10 facts that show just how amazing these creatures are, and highlight why we must fight back against the plastic pollution choking our oceans.
See what WWF have organised for World Turtle Day! Click Here
About Turtles and their Habitat
Turtles are reptiles which belong to the order Testudines. They are characterized by their cartilaginous shell that develops from the ribs and acts as a shield for the animal. They are commonly cold-blooded animals – which means that their internal temperature fluctuates according to the temperature of the environment. However, some turtles have a higher temperature than their ambient environment due to their high metabolic rate – for instance, this is the case with sea turtles.
Some of the earliest known turtles lived approximately 215 million years ago. This makes turtles one of the oldest groups of reptiles – even older than crocodiles and snakes. Today, there are over 320 known species of turtles and many of them are endangered. Scientists classify turtles as amniotes, as they do mammals, reptiles, and birds. Like their fellow amniotes, turtles breathe air and do not lay their eggs underwater – although many different turtle species live very close to large bodies of water.
What turtles eat depends largely upon the environment in which they live. Many adult land turtles will eat plants, worms, and small insects. Some freshwater turtles eat fish and other aquatic creatures. Some sea turtles will often feed on soft-bodied marine animals such as sponges and jellyfish. Still, other sea turtles may live off shellfish or algae.
Some Turtles on the Brink of Extinction
Almost 70% of the turtles that are alive today are endangered. This includes seven species of sea turtles (which include the Hawksbill, Loggerhead, Green and Leatherback Sea Turtles, Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles, among others). It also includes land turtles such as the Radiated Tortoise, the Saw-jawed Terrapin, the Ploughshare Tortoise, the Philippine Pond Turtle, the Flattened Musk Turtle, the Yellow-headed Box Turtle, McCord’s Box Turtle, Indochinese Box Turtle, Yellow Mud Turtle, Western Chicken Turtle and Blanding’s Turtle.