The sea turtles’ elusive nature creates a difficulty in researching accurate population figures. From what we do know, however, all seven species are now endangered to the point where conservation efforts are required if they are to survive.
There are many reasons for their decline, almost all of which are human related. Ongoing damage to their natural habitats and ecosystems they survive within has had a serious impact of numbers, as has illegal poaching for the turtles’ shell and the demand for turtle egg soup.
Turtles dying out would, of course, be sad in itself, but it would also have a broader impact on the marine ecosystem as a whole. If something is taken out of a fragile food chain it becomes imbalanced and other species’ populations begin to increase or decline.
However, it’s not too late for the sea turtle. With a growing number of conservation projects and efforts to raise awareness of the turtles’ plight, there is still time for these beautiful creatures. But to be successful, every nesting ground and every egg needs attention to ensure the best possible chance of survival.
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Volunteers play a vital role in conservation efforts and also get the opportunity to have up close encounters with several turtle species. Those who join a volunteer project can expect a wide range of conservation activities. Some of these include:
Caring for injured turtles
Most conservation centres will have the facilities to look after rescued or injured turtles. Each day these turtles will need to be cared for and nursed back to health with the eventual aim of releasing them back into the wild.
Looking after nesting sites
One of the most important roles for volunteers is ensuring the project site and beach area remain clean and safe giving the turtles the best chance of survival.
After helping construct the hatcheries, volunteers will spend some time each day maintaining them and cleaning the tanks. It’s here that collected and rescued eggs will have the chance to hatch safely away from predators.
Releasing turtles back into the wild
One of the most rewarding jobs and the culmination of the conservation efforts is releasing healthy turtles and babies back into ocean. A truly satisfying moment.
Educating people on turtles
Part of any good conservation programme will be educating people on the importance of preserving sea turtles. This can be done in many ways, but tours of the centre and hatchery are often the most enjoyable.
There are many spots around the world where turtle conservation projects are run, but three of the best are Playa Tortuga in Costa Rica, Kosgoda in Sri Lanka and Pulau Kecil Island in Malaysia.
Founded back in 1988, The Great Turtle Project is a dedicated conservation project in Sri Lanka which aims to safeguard the fragile future of these majestic creatures by maintaining local nesting sites, nurturing baby sea turtles through the most perilous parts of their lives and monitoring turtle activity out at sea. Always on the lookout for volunteers to donate their time and money to this praiseworthy cause, the project offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get closer to these wonderful animals and make a real difference in their ongoing existence.
Proudly sponsored by The Great Projects