World Sea Turtle Day
annually on June 16th
World Sea Turtle Day honors and highlights the importance of sea turtles and recognizes sea turtle conservation and protection efforts around the world. It is held on the birthdate of noted sea turtle biologist Archie Carr, who founded the Sea Turtle Conservancy and helped create the community that works to protect sea turtles today.
Only a fraction of the sea turtles that once populated the Earth remain on it today. Sea turtles have been killed for their meat, eggs, skin, and shells. Their feeding and nesting habitats face destruction, and they are under threat from pollution. In particular, they are threatened by plastic dumped into the oceans.
There are seven species of sea turtles, which are also known as marine turtles. The smallest is Kemp's ridley. It can grow to about two feet in length and to a weight of close to 90 pounds. The largest is the leatherback. It can reach a length of close to six feet and usually weighs between 650 and 1,300 pounds. The other species are the green, hawksbill, olive ridley, loggerhead, and flatback.
Sea turtles live in tropical and subtropical waters. While they spend most of their time in water, they tend to stay close to land. This particularly is the case for females, who lay eggs on the sand. Notably, sea turtles usually nest on the same beaches they hatched on. Sea turtles sense the Earth's magnetic fields and use them to navigate, sometimes migrating thousands of miles. Sea turtles grow slowly, taking 15 to 50 years to reach maturity, and some live to be over 100 years old! World Sea Turtle Day helps to ensure that they have the opportunity to reach such a ripe old age!
How to Observe World Sea Turtle Day
Some ways you could take part in the day include:
- Support or become involved with the Sea Turtle Conservancy or another organization protecting sea turtles, such as the Oceanic Society or Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research.
- Check for events. In the past, the Sea Turtle Conservancy has organized events for the day at the Florida Museum of Natural History.
- View sea turtles in the wild.
- Learn more about the various species of sea turtles.
- If you live near a beach where sea turtles reside, spend some time cleaning it. You could also make sure you aren't shining any lights on the beach at night, because too much light can cause turtles to wander.
- Recycle and use less plastic so that it doesn't end up being eaten by turtles in the ocean.