When I say the word “sea turtle,” you might think of the infamous Crush from "Finding Nemo." Found in parts of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans, sea turtles are one of the most magnificent creatures to occupy the ocean’s depths. There are only seven species of sea turtles, six of which are endangered at the hand of humans. Sea turtles fill a vital role in the ecosystem of the ocean but they are quickly becoming overwhelmed with the response of man to the environment.
Slaughtered for virtually every part of their body, including their eggs, shells, meat and skin, sea turtles of all species fall victim to poaching and exploitation daily. Fishermen and climate change are also two culprits in the decimation of the sea turtle population. The eggs of sea turtles are highly sought after as well, by both humans and other animals, which is another reason why the overall population of sea turtles is declining. Many migrate thousands of miles to different coastal areas to lay their eggs and can be easy targets at night. People aren’t aware of the declining population of sea turtles because frankly, it isn’t viewed with the same importance, but sea turtles are a key part in the ecosystem of the ocean.
If sea turtles become extinct, they could severely impact the ecosystems of marine life in ways that we may not be aware of. Sea turtles and sea turtle eggs provide important nutrients to dune and beach ecosystems as well as marine and ocean ecosystems. These ecosystems house many animals and promote the safety of the wildlife and without sea turtles, the ecosystems would be in great danger.
Fortunately, many organizations, such as the World Wildlife Fund and the Sea Turtle Conservancy, have dedicated themselves to protecting and preserving the nature of sea turtles. Many island countries, such as Sri Lanka, for example, which is located off the coast of the Indian subcontinent, promote the protection of marine wildlife by sponsoring manmade habitual centers for the animals. For sea turtles, owners of these centers are sponsored with enough money to construct miniature living quarters for captured and injured sea turtles and can nurse them back to health. However, these centers are being overwhelmed. The amount of sea turtles that need aid is largely greater than the amount of space needed to take care of these animals.
This situation bears a striking similarity to our own refugee crisis with humans, ironically. For sea turtles, however, the solution is not to form diplomatic agreements, but to encourage awareness and enforce laws against animal exploitation. This situation with sea turtle life is sadly similar to many other species of animal as well. It baffles me how we were given a place on this earth to live harmoniously among the other species of the world, but we have somehow promoted ourselves as rulers of the world and now are trying to harm other animals as well. We need to put an end to animal poaching and encourage the protection and salvation of not only sea turtles, but other species of wildlife as well.