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Turtles - one of the worlds greatest travellers under threat

Avoiding Extinction

Marine Sea Turtles

Turtles are ancient reptiles, swimming in our oceans since the Jurassic Period. For over 150 million years, they have migrated all around the globe, eating sea grasses, fishes and sea jellies. Over the last few decades, a new food has been added to their diet, plastic. Plastic rubbish has been found in every part of the ocean, even in parts of Antarctica, where humans haven’t even fully explored!

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Avoiding Extinction

Sharing Beaches with Humans

Following in Mothers Footsteps

Marine sea turtles return to the beaches where they were born, to lay their own eggs! Human’s also love visiting the beach. In fact, 40% of the world’s population live within 100 km of the coast. You can visit many beaches where turtles nest. It is a good idea not to disturb the mothers as they have a very important job to do. They can lay around 100 eggs at one time!

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Humans close to nesting beaches can threaten turtles

Bright Lights Confusing

Turtle hatchlings look for the Moon’s reflection on the water to know which direction to move, once emerged from their sandy nest. Nearby street lights from human settlements can easily be mistaken for the moon. They have been known to crawl away from water and onto roads, hopelessly searching for the ocean.

What Cities Can Do

Cities around the world are already resolving this issue. Councils have introduced light curfews throughout the breeding season, and will even change their lights to red bulbs. This helps the mother turtles find a nesting site easier, and the hatchlings dash to the ocean for the first time.

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Hungry Turtles

When Plastic is Mistaken for Sea Jellies

Imagine you’re a hungry Leatherback turtle...

You see a clear blob, moving up and down in the water. Thinking it’s a sea jelly you take a bite, only to discover you have been tricked; it was not a jelly at all! Many hungry turtles are fooled in the same way. Plastic bags and Sea Jellies make the same patterns and shapes in the water. They also move with the ocean currents. Sadly, the plastic never leaves these turtles. It gets stuck in their stomachs, taking up room from the real food turtles need to eat to stay healthy.

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Everything is Connected

Avoiding extinction can be hard when everything in the ocean (and land) is connected. Green Sea turtles primarily eat sea grasses, and supplement their diet with crustaceans, sea jellies and fish. If Green Sea turtles go extinct, it will cause an inbalance in the ocean.

More and more predators like Tiger Sharks will go hungry without turtles to feed on, so they will become vulnerable to extinction! It would be a very bad thing to lose such ancient animals, which have been around for over 150 million years, and barely changed in that time. By helping save marine turtles, we can help keep our oceans health for future generations to enjoy. 

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How do turtles navigate the ocean?

How do turtles navigate the ocean?

It is thought turtles can navigate using the Earth's magnetic field to migrate around the ocean

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Using their sight
Smelling different habitats
They follow each other
The feel the Earth's magnetic field
Question 1 of

Why are lights an issue for turtle hatchlings?

Why are lights an issue for turtle hatchlings?

Turtle hatchlings confuse the bright city lights for the moons reflection on the ocean surface, and head in the wrong direction.

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They are too hot for turtles
They are too hot for turtles
The confuse which direction they need to travel
The confuse which direction they need to travel
They get startled and don't move
They get startled and don't move
They are not an issue
They are not an issue
Question 1 of

Why do turtles eat plastic bags?

Why do turtles eat plastic bags?

Some turtles commonly mistake plastic bags for Sea Jellies. This is because they look and float the same in the ocean.

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They confuse plastic for Sea Jellies
They confuse plastic for Sea Jellies
They like the taste of it
They like the taste of it
They confuse plastic for squid
They confuse plastic for squid
They don't eat plastic
They don't eat plastic
FANTASTIC EFFORT

Hope you learnt something interesting about Turtles

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What Can I Do?

Here's some things you can do

Reduce Plastic

Reduce the amount of single use plastic items you consume. Single use means you use it once and then throw it away – like plastic bags and straws.

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Pick up rubbish

Always try to ‘pick up two’ items of rubbish each day, in addition to your own. It’s a good idea to put rubbish you find in a bin with a lid, to help prevent birds or the wind from moving it from the bin to the drain. From the drains that rubbish can lead to the ocean. So try for at least two extra pieces a day.

Beach Clean Up

Organise a school beach clean-up event. If you don’t live near a beach, try a local park. The more rubbish we help recycle or dispose of correctly, the less harm it will do to marine animals.