Our card honors the Sea Turtles of North America. All sea turtle species are listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
These ancient marine creatures have been on Earth for more than 100 million years — even surviving the dinosaurs!
Help Protect Some Of The Rarest Creatures On Earth.
All Sea Turtles rely on beaches for nesting. When they’re not nesting, they spend most of their lives in the ocean. Much of their journey around the globe remains a mystery to researchers. Florida beaches host 90% of sea turtle nesting in the continental U.S.
Coastal development can destroy important nesting sites and impact coral reefs, Artificial light from houses and other buildings attracts hatchlings away from the ocean. Pollution like plastic bags are often mistaken for food such as jellyfish and ingested, which blocks their intestines and potentially kills them. The turtles often drown when entangled in fishing gear.
Over the last 200 years, human activities have tipped the scales against the survival of these ancient mariners. Slaughtered for their eggs, meat, skin, and shells, sea turtles suffer from poaching and over-exploitation. They also face habitat destruction and accidental capture—known as bycatch—in fishing gear. Climate change has an impact on turtle nesting sites; it alters sand temperatures, which then affects the sex of hatchlings.
In the Southeast and along the Gulf of Mexico, Sea Turtle defenders:
- work to preserve nesting beaches and foraging areas,
- improve coastal-construction policies so that jetties and sea walls do not prevent turtles from nesting,
- promote responsible lighting along nesting beaches,
- encourage local residents, visitors and businesses to remove trash that attracts raccoons and other predators that devour eggs and hatchlings,
- organize workshops and beach clean-ups.
- limit off-road vehicles on the beach to protect nesting sites.
- promote vigilant use of turtle excluder devises (TEDs) and innovative fishing practices to reduce sea turtle deaths in trawling nets.
- help change wildlife and fisheries regulations to forbid capture and trade of turtle products,
- promote the use of safe fishing gear to decrease sea turtle bycatch in shark fisheries,
- created a series of educational materials against the illegal trade of sea turtle products.
- distribute an identification guide widely used by scientists and government authorities.
Threats to Sea Turtles include:
- fisheries bycatch
- habitat loss and disturbance due to development
- oil spills and other pollution
- ingestion of plastics
- entanglement in marine debris
- artificial lighting
- tortoise shell jewelry and souvenirs
- beach armoring*
- illegal harvesting.
- Climate change.
*Beach armoring is the use of physical structures to protect shorelines from coastal erosion, such as seawalls, breakwaters, and riprap. Shoreline armoring has both beneficial and detrimental effects.
This information is from Defenders of Wildlife.
It is estimated that only one out of 1,000 hatchlings survives to be an adult. Baby sea turtles have many natural predators including birds, crabs, fish, and mammals like raccoons. But the female adults can lay thousands of eggs over their lifetimes, so at least a few of baby sea turtles survive to maintain the species.
A donation will be made from sales of this card to Defenders of Wildlife, the premier U.S.-based national conservation organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of imperiled and endangered species and their habitats in North America. Together, we can ensure a future for the wildlife and wild places we all love.
See also: Great White Shark.