heroes in a half shell

Updated: Aug 23, 2019

Paws up if you’ve done a turtle tour.

Paws up if you’ve seen turtles hatching.

Paws up if you’ve seen a turtle lay her eggs.

Paws up if you understand the significance of these events.

A hatchling emerges unexpectedly, way after the season was supposed to have ended.

turtle power

There is a certain majesty about turtles. Seeing them on a dive is always a treat & even the most seasoned of divers turns into a googly-eyed fangirl when one cruises past on scuba. Maybe it’s the fact that they’re living dinosaurs or maybe it’s the way they look at you when they pass by – attractively judgmental – they just have the ability to make a diver go weak at the knees. Aside from their sheer awesomeness, turtles are important for ocean ecology as they help to maintain healthy corals & sea grass as well as keeping jelly fish populations at bay.

shredder isn’t the only bad guy

Unfortunately, as with many of the amazing creatures on our planet, turtles have become endangered due to poaching, human encroachment on nesting & feeding areas, ocean pollution, global warming & bycatch.

Endless threats, mostly created by us, face sea life daily & its knock-on effect is catastrophic for our oceans, our planet and our future. Without Splinter & the gang around to help the turtles, we all have to do our part.

Thousands of tons of plastic waste end up in our oceans every year & threaten the existence of sea creatures

The biggest threat facing turtles & all other sea life is plastic in our oceans. Plastic is often ingested by turtles who hunt in the depths of the ocean. Their throats are lined with spiny teeth that force food down but prevent anything from coming up again. Plastic gets caught in these spines & suffocates the turtles. In some cases it travels down to the stomach but stops food & nutrients from being digested & the turtles die slowly of starvation.

Many businesses like The Travel Corporation are starting to eliminate the use of single use plastics & some countries like Tanzania have banned the product altogether. Barking Wild has also chosen a paperless existence.

there are plenty of fish in the sea

The commercial fishing industry is steadily stripping our oceans of resources & in the process trapping turtles, sharks, whale sharks, rays, dolphins & countless other creatures accidentally in their nets in a phenomenon known as bycatch. This industry has become increasingly destructive & also damages deep coral reefs as the nets drag along the ocean floor. (Next time you're enjoying your hake, ensure that you're only supporting sustainable fisheries.)

Encroachment on nesting & feeding sites is resulting in turtles not being able to breed in some areas as females usually return to the place of their birth to lay their eggs & her offspring will do the same. Beaches where turtles have been hatching for centuries are slowly being taken over by hotels, homes & businesses. The protection of our beaches and creation of conservancies such as Tortuguero are paramount to maintaining healthy breeding populations of turtles & in turn conserving ocean resources.

all hands on deck

Acting independently, we make very little difference to the threats faced by our planet but acting collectively & by educating others, we can make a difference. Consumerism is driven by need - if we stop buying plastic, it will stop being produced. Think about where your waste ends up & the effect that it has on the environment.

Are you aware that sea mammals such as dolphins, seals & whales are experiencing the highest ever rate of infant deaths due to chemicals released by plastics in the ocean

being absorbed into the mother’s bloodstream, in turn poisoning her suckling pup.

Will you commit to making a difference?

the generation who knows better

Previous generations have not had access to information at their fingertips like we do. We are the generation who knows better. There is no excuse not to consider your carbon footprint every day & commit to making a difference. Open your eyes to the truth – if not for yourself, for your children.

Chantelle once sat right beside a loggerhead turtle who was laying her eggs near Mabibi. In that moment, she felt a peace unlike anything she had ever experienced before & knew that we have to do all we can to save these incredible beings from extinction.

If you enjoyed this post, check out this one from Megamalist which is same-same but different.

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