SEA TUR­TLE

Scuba Diver Australasia + Ocean Planet - - Inspirational Images Of 25 Ocean Species Under Thr - Text by Ellen Cuy­laerts Pho­tos by Ellen Cuy­laerts, Pla­mena Mil­eva & Re­nee Capoz­zola

ASIA DIVE EXPO

(ADEX 2015, 2019 SPEAKER) Of the seven ex­tant sea tur­tle species, three (green, Kemp’s ri­d­ley and hawks­bill) are listed as En­dan­gered or Crit­i­cally En­dan­gered, three (log­ger­head, olive ri­d­ley and leatherback) are listed as Vul­ner­a­ble, and the last one, the flat­back tur­tle, is con­sid­ered Vul­ner­a­ble in its na­tive Aus­tralia. Sea tur­tles, which be­long to the su­per­fam­ily Ch­elo­nioidea, face a large num­ber of threats, nearly all of which are an­thro­pogenic in ori­gin. Degra­da­tion of nest­ing beach habi­tats and ma­rine habi­tats, pol­lu­tion, en­tan­gle­ment in nets, by­catch in com­mer­cial fish­eries, and hu­man con­sump­tion of eggs, meat and other prod­ucts im­pact all sea tur­tles to vary­ing de­grees. Global warm­ing also has the po­ten­tial to im­pact the ma­rine ecosys­tems on which tur­tles rely, while the sex ra­tio of em­bryos could also be im­pacted given the con­nec­tion to in­cu­ba­tion tem­per­a­tures of tur­tle eggs.

Ev­ery three to four years, green tur­tles feed­ing on the coast of Brazil and Re­cife Is­land mi­grate to As­cen­sion Is­land in the South At­lantic to mate in the water and lay eggs on the beaches. Af­ter a haz­ardous jour­ney of al­most 3,800 kilo­me­tres, the tur­tles ar­rive ex­hausted. Males wait in the shal­lows and take turns mat­ing with hun­dreds of fe­males. At night, the fe­males come ashore to lay their eggs – a spec­tac­u­lar sight.

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