JUNE 16: WORLD SEA TURTLE DAY
May and June are the most important months for the oldest creatures in the world. Sea turtle have been living for more than 200 million years on Earth, however they are disappearing rapidly, as a result of the exotic food industry, destruction of habitat and pet trade.
a) May 23rd is the official “World Turtle Day”, an event sponsored by the American Tortoise Rescue to create greater awareness of the importance of these animals in the ecosystem.
b) On June 16th, “World Sea Turtle Day” is celebrated. The chosen date commemorates the birth of a famous conservationist who dedicated his life to protect these reptiles, defend their contribution to the Environment and explain to the world their importance.
After long journeys swimming, every year males and females meet in certain places that are recorded in their genetic memory, to procreate the new generations. After intercourse, the males usually return to the sea and females dedicate themselves to nesting, making large wells and burying their eggs in the sand.
“Sea turtles are truly extraordinary animals and essential to maintain the delicate balance of the oceans and life on Earth. For more than 100 million years ago sea turtles have been crossing waters all over the world and are present in all marine habitats. “
A female can spawn up to eight times each season. The turtle hatchlings are born after approximately six to eight weeks and after breaking the shell they dig to the surface of the sand to find their way to the sea. The life of a sea turtle is very tough and about one in 1,000 babies manage to reach adulthood and start the life cycle again.
Contributions of Sea Turtles
One of the most fascinating things about sea turtles is that every moment of their lives has an impact on the ecosystems to which they belong. This happens in many ways and is fundamental for the environmental health.
Eggs are an example, since those that do not hatch decompose in the sand and provide nutrients for the plants. When baby sea turtles are born and crawl to the sea, they move a huge amount of nutrients, feeding the small living organisms that swarm near the surface. Also, when adults arrive at nesting beaches they bring new nutrients from the sea.
Hawksbill turtles, for example, feed on sponges which affects the global biodiversity of coral reef communities, as sponges compete aggressively for space with reef-building corals. They can make the difference between the survival of sponges and corals and help balance the competition of the latter, allowing them to colonize larger spaces, provide a key habitat for a wider range of species and maintain the marine Environment healthy.
They are seven different sea turtle species, six are threatened to extinction due to our irresponsible way of acting with the environment, so they need special attention.
Sea turtles face risks that affect their survival, such as the presence of plastics in the ocean, which traps them and suffocates them. Water contamination contains different chemicals and substances that cause the destruction of nests, consumption of eggs, and constructions in the zones of nesting.
The garbage that is trapped in the ocean currents have a severe impact in these reptiles, who ingest the microscopic plastic particles of humans’ trash and we are not even aware of. Although they are from large waste, such as shopping bags, which reach the sea from nearby places such as beaches or boats, sea turtles get trap, with the consequent risk of dying asphyxiated.
Puerto Vallarta and Sea Turtles
Mexico has the honor of being visited by six different sea turtle species. These animals are somewhat solitary, rarely live together and spend 90% of their life on the ocean.
If you are one of those who want to help preserve this species, you can go to one of the many sea turtle camps that exist in Puerto Vallarta. Puerto Vallarta is the second most important beach in Mexico, sea turtles come to nest and visit other states. Sea turtles conservation programs are managed, but that’s not enough, one of the most important things is that we value the opportunity to meet these animals and return to nature a little of what it offers us. Becoming aware and educating ourselves to prevent the extinction of sea turtles.