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Sea Turtles Why They Are Endangered And

Sea Turtles: Why They Are Endangered And Conservation Efforts Essay, Research Paper Bethany Maynard Mrs. Myer English 10 A May 28, 1996 Sea Turtles: Why they are Endangered and Conservation

Sea Turtles: Why They Are Endangered And Conservation Efforts Essay, Research Paper

Bethany Maynard

Mrs. Myer

English 10 A

May 28, 1996

Sea Turtles: Why they are Endangered and Conservation

Due to development, hunting, and human indifference, all eight species of sea turtles have been pushed toward extinction. There are, however, many organizations, institutions, and groups out to try to save these creatures. The adult sea turtle faces no natural predators except that of man. Over the last century man has nearly killed off all eight species of sea turtle. Without the help of the human race, these animals will not last another thirty-five years.

One specie of sea turtle that is threatened is the Green Sea Turtle. The Green Turtle lives along the coasts of the south eastern United States, Central America, and South America. They live in areas abundant in sea grass beds. Green Turtles are by far the fastest of the sea turtles, swimming up to speeds of twenty miles per hour, giving them an advantage in the open sea (Anderson).

There are many myths about the Green Turtle; more than any other specie of sea turtle. They are considered symbols of longevity because no one knows exactly how long they live, but it is speculated that their life cycle is over a century (Anderson). Also, Green Turtle eggs are used as egg substitutes in baking and also in Mexican Macho Rituals. The ritual consists of tearing the egg open, pouring it into a shot glass with

tobacco sauce, then with great care to be sure everyone is watching the person throws it back in one swallow. Since the sea turtle lays one-hundred to two-hundred eggs per nest, there is a myth that their eggs if eaten will make one more fertile. Also the males reputation as a stud has led to the drying of the bony tissue of the male Green Turtles penis. The tissue is ground into a fine powdered and mixed in with rum drinks. There is also a strong belief that turtle eggs are natural aphrodisiacs (Santinello).

The Green Turtle faces many dangers from man. Such as people poaching their eggs for the black market, development on their nesting sights, and the use of lights that distract hatchlings from heading toward the ocean. Also fishing nets endanger the Green Turtle and other species of turtle. The nets trap the turtles under water so they cannot rise to the surface to breathe (Moran). The Greens are also faced with the disease Fibropapillomas. Fibropapillomas is a strange disfiguring disease which creates huge wart like tumors that grow out of the limbs and head that can eventually kill the turtle. The first report of this was in the 1930 s in the Florida Keys. Since the 1930 s there had only been a few isolated reports until one decade ago. A number of cases were reported in the lagoon systems behind Cape Canaveral and in Hawaii. Some believe Fibropapilliomas is associated with the high levels of pollution present in those areas. Currently as many as fifty percent of the Green Turtles found dead in the Keys are effected. As of now the sea turtles inflicted with the disease are being sent to institutions for study, such as the Hidden Harbor Turtle Hospital. They hope to find the cause and cure as soon as possible (Pritchard).

Another endangered sea turtle is the Kemp s Ridley sea turtles are the smallest of the sea turtles (only about 20 to 30 inches long) and the most threatened. They live along the coast of Texas and Mexico and are also scattered in some parts of Louisiana. The Kemp s Ridley face a great danger from Texas shrimpers. Between January and August in 1993, 336 dead turtles were washed ashore, two-hundred of them Kemp s Ridleys. The disappearance of their habitats due to pollution and destruction of reefs is also effecting the Kemp s Ridleys (Pritchard). There are organizations out to help the Kemp s Ridleys such as H.E.A.R.T., which stands for Help Endangered Animals-Kemp s Ridley Turtles (Moran).

Hawksbills are another example of a species of turtle that is dying out. Their threat is almost equal to that of the Kemp s Ridley. Their habitats are dwindling with the destruction of the coral reefs. It is believed that the Hawksbills are only one natural disaster away from being wiped out in Hawaii, the only nesting site in the US for this species (Ambrose). Hawksbills are constantly poached for their beautiful shells. The greatest market for Hawksbill shell products is in Japan where they are constantly exploited. In 1991 turtle shell importation was at an alarming rate of 7.5 tons between August 1, 1991 and December 31, 1992. This is a considerable amount because Hawksbills only yield a few pounds of shell each (Pritchard). It is believed in many countries that stuffed Hawksbill heads and full animals will bring one good luck.

The Leatherback and Loggerhead sea turtles are especially effected by pollution in the open sea. The turtles mistake clear plastic like soda can rings, for jellyfish and when ingested they either choke or the plastic clogs their digestive track causing them not to be

able to eat and so the turtle starves to death. Leatherbacks are the largest of all species of sea turtles and are killed for their oils which were used to treat boat timbers and later to treat respiratory disease. Oil spills are a danger to all sea turtles, but Leatherbacks and Loggerheads live in areas where there tend to be more spills. The oil coats them not allowing them to swim or breathe (Ross).

There have been some state and government efforts to try and save the sea turtles from extinction. There is an act that has clauses contained in it passed by the government called the Endangered Species Act. Under this act all eight species are protected (Loftis). The Commerce Department has enforced a clause that all countries exporting shrimp to the US must reduce sea turtle mortality by ninety-seven percent (San Francisco). Violators of this act will be fined $25,000 and if a person kills a sea turtle the penalty is one year in jail (Ambrose). There has been a movement by environmentalists to pass a clause causing all shrimpers to use TED s.

Not only is the Government taking action people in individual states have a lot of organizations that do their part. H.E.A.R.T. helps the conservation of the Kemp s Ridleys, and local police guard eggs and fine poachers. Hundreds of beach park workers and Rangers guard nests of eggs twenty-four hours a day seven days a week to ensure their protection. They also screen off areas and protect the new hatchlings (Anderson). The Hidden Harbor Turtle Hospital is spending millions of dollars to find a cure for Fibropapillomas and also care for other sick or injured turtles (Pritchard).

Shrimpers in many parts of the US are required to use TED s which are Turtle Excluder Devices. TED s consist of a metal framed box lined with mesh and with oblique grid bars that push a turtle upwards against the trap door that opens to release it. This version works well, but it is not the favorite of conservationists, who prefer Soft TED s. Soft TED s contain no metal frame, and work better. There is extensive testing which compare and contrast the two TED types. The TED s offer the best protection for turtles getting stuck in shrimp nets (Pritchard).

Many communities do their part to help the turtles. When turtle eggs hatch, the light of the moon draws them like a natural homing device toward the ocean. With more and more development along the ocean, the lighting attracts the hatchlings the wrong way to their certain death (Cole). Now many communities are installing light shields which cost little to make and to install and they work well. Windows facing the ocean during nesting season must be either tinted or covered in order not to distract the hatchlings. Many communities protect hatchlings from off road vehicles and stray animals that could either break or eat the eggs. Communities also screen off nests as an added protection (Ambrose).

Between seventy-two and one hundred thirty-five million years ago during the upper Cretaceous period there were sea turtles. They were ten feet long and weighed two tons. It s only predator was sharks. This ancient turtle was called Archelon. the first turtles appeared during the Triassic period one hundred eighty to two hundred twenty-five million years ago (Reeves 1 and 7). Sea turtles have been around for centuries but

if there is not more of an effort to save them these creatures will disappear in another thirty years.

It is because of the human race that these beautiful creatures are dying out, since the human race has caused the decline of these species it is the duty and responsibility of man to try and save them.

Bethany Maynard

Mrs. Myer

English 10 A

May 28, 1996

Sea Turtles: Why they are Endangered and Conservation

Due to development, hunting, and human indifference, all eight species of sea turtles have been pushed toward extinction. There are, however, many organizations, institutions, and groups out to try to save these creatures. The adult sea turtle faces no natural predators except that of man. Over the last century man has nearly killed off all eight species of sea turtle. Without the help of the human race, these animals will not last another thirty-five years.

One specie of sea turtle that is threatened is the Green Sea Turtle. The Green Turtle lives along the coasts of the south eastern United States, Central America, and South America. They live in areas abundant in sea grass beds. Green Turtles are by far the fastest of the sea turtles, swimming up to speeds of twenty miles per hour, giving them an advantage in the open sea (Anderson).

There are many myths about the Green Turtle; more than any other specie of sea turtle. They are considered symbols of longevity because no one knows exactly how long they live, but it is speculated that their life cycle is over a century (Anderson). Also, Green Turtle eggs are used as egg substitutes in baking and also in Mexican Macho Rituals. The ritual consists of tearing the egg open, pouring it into a shot glass with

tobacco sauce, then with great care to be sure everyone is watching the person throws it back in one swallow. Since the sea turtle lays one-hundred to two-hundred eggs per nest, there is a myth that their eggs if eaten will make one more fertile. Also the males reputation as a stud has led to the drying of the bony tissue of the male Green Turtles penis. The tissue is ground into a fine powdered and mixed in with rum drinks. There is also a strong belief that turtle eggs are natural aphrodisiacs (Santinello).

The Green Turtle faces many dangers from man. Such as people poaching their eggs for the black market, development on their nesting sights, and the use of lights that distract hatchlings from heading toward the ocean. Also fishing nets endanger the Green Turtle and other species of turtle. The nets trap the turtles under water so they cannot rise to the surface to breathe (Moran). The Greens are also faced with the disease Fibropapillomas. Fibropapillomas is a strange disfiguring disease which creates huge wart like tumors that grow out of the limbs and head that can eventually kill the turtle. The first report of this was in the 1930 s in the Florida Keys. Since the 1930 s there had only been a few isolated reports until one decade ago. A number of cases were reported in the lagoon systems behind Cape Canaveral and in Hawaii. Some believe Fibropapilliomas is associated with the high levels of pollution present in those areas. Currently as many as fifty percent of the Green Turtles found dead in the Keys are effected. As of now the sea turtles inflicted with the disease are being sent to institutions for study, such as the Hidden Harbor Turtle Hospital. They hope to find the cause and cure as soon as possible (Pritchard).

Another endangered sea turtle is the Kemp s Ridley sea turtles are the smallest of the sea turtles (only about 20 to 30 inches long) and the most threatened. They live along the coast of Texas and Mexico and are also scattered in some parts of Louisiana. The Kemp s Ridley face a great danger from Texas shrimpers. Between January and August in 1993, 336 dead turtles were washed ashore, two-hundred of them Kemp s Ridleys. The disappearance of their habitats due to pollution and destruction of reefs is also effecting the Kemp s Ridleys (Pritchard). There are organizations out to help the Kemp s Ridleys such as H.E.A.R.T., which stands for Help Endangered Animals-Kemp s Ridley Turtles (Moran).

Hawksbills are another example of a species of turtle that is dying out. Their threat is almost equal to that of the Kemp s Ridley. Their habitats are dwindling with the destruction of the coral reefs. It is believed that the Hawksbills are only one natural disaster away from being wiped out in Hawaii, the only nesting site in the US for this species (Ambrose). Hawksbills are constantly poached for their beautiful shells. The greatest market for Hawksbill shell products is in Japan where they are constantly exploited. In 1991 turtle shell importation was at an alarming rate of 7.5 tons between August 1, 1991 and December 31, 1992. This is a considerable amount because Hawksbills only yield a few pounds of shell each (Pritchard). It is believed in many countries that stuffed Hawksbill heads and full animals will bring one good luck.

The Leatherback and Loggerhead sea turtles are especially effected by pollution in the open sea. The turtles mistake clear plastic like soda can rings, for jellyfish and when ingested they either choke or the plastic clogs their digestive track causing them not to be

able to eat and so the turtle starves to death. Leatherbacks are the largest of all species of sea turtles and are killed for their oils which were used to treat boat timbers and later to treat respiratory disease. Oil spills are a danger to all sea turtles, but Leatherbacks and Loggerheads live in areas where there tend to be more spills. The oil coats them not allowing them to swim or breathe (Ross).

There have been some state and government efforts to try and save the sea turtles from extinction. There is an act that has clauses contained in it passed by the government called the Endangered Species Act. Under this act all eight species are protected (Loftis). The Commerce Department has enforced a clause that all countries exporting shrimp to the US must reduce sea turtle mortality by ninety-seven percent (San Francisco). Violators of this act will be fined $25,000 and if a person kills a sea turtle the penalty is one year in jail (Ambrose). There has been a movement by environmentalists to pass a clause causing all shrimpers to use TED s.

Not only is the Government taking action people in individual states have a lot of organizations that do their part. H.E.A.R.T. helps the conservation of the Kemp s Ridleys, and local police guard eggs and fine poachers. Hundreds of beach park workers and Rangers guard nests of eggs twenty-four hours a day seven days a week to ensure their protection. They also screen off areas and protect the new hatchlings (Anderson). The Hidden Harbor Turtle Hospital is spending millions of dollars to find a cure for Fibropapillomas and also care for other sick or injured turtles (Pritchard).

Shrimpers in many parts of the US are required to use TED s which are Turtle Excluder Devices. TED s consist of a metal framed box lined with mesh and with oblique grid bars that push a turtle upwards against the trap door that opens to release it. This version works well, but it is not the favorite of conservationists, who prefer Soft TED s. Soft TED s contain no metal frame, and work better. There is extensive testing which compare and contrast the two TED types. The TED s offer the best protection for turtles getting stuck in shrimp nets (Pritchard).

Many communities do their part to help the turtles. When turtle eggs hatch, the light of the moon draws them like a natural homing device toward the ocean. With more and more development along the ocean, the lighting attracts the hatchlings the wrong way to their certain death (Cole). Now many communities are installing light shields which cost little to make and to install and they work well. Windows facing the ocean during nesting season must be either tinted or covered in order not to distract the hatchlings. Many communities protect hatchlings from off road vehicles and stray animals that could either break or eat the eggs. Communities also screen off nests as an added protection (Ambrose).

Between seventy-two and one hundred thirty-five million years ago during the upper Cretaceous period there were sea turtles. They were ten feet long and weighed two tons. It s only predator was sharks. This ancient turtle was called Archelon. the first turtles appeared during the Triassic period one hundred eighty to two hundred twenty-five million years ago (Reeves 1 and 7). Sea turtles have been around for centuries but

if there is not more of an effort to save them these creatures will disappear in another thirty years.

It is because of the human race that these beautiful creatures are dying out, since the human race has caused the decline of these species it is the duty and responsibility of man to try and save the

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