With their dynamic body shape, their streamlined shells, and their peaceful and adorable faces, sea turtles are one of the most beautiful animals in the sea. There are seven sea turtle species in the world: Green, leatherback, loggerhead, hawksbill, olive ridley, Kemp’s ridley, and flatback.

Sea turtles’ diet also relies on each species, for example, green sea turtles are herbivores. They eat algae, seagrasses, and seaweed.  Others like the loggerheads and Kemp’s ridley are carnivores. These two species eat crabs, conchs, whelk, jellies, and shrimps. And some other like hawksbills are spongivorous because their diet relies only on sponges.

The Kimberley’s Flatback Sea Turtles. Credit: Sea Turtle Restoration Project

Regarding size, the leatherback is the largest of all sea turtles species, since they can reach about 1.2 to 1.9 m large and weigh 200 to 506 kg.

Although some people find funny the fact sea turtles are slow, Nicole Gioia, senior biologist at Adventure Aquarium told Pylly.com she believes turtles are fast enough considering their size and weight.

Sea turtles are amazing. Some of them can travel long distances even crossing entire oceans. The loggerheads, for example, migrate from Japan to Mexico, others such as the Leatherbacks can withstand the coldest waters of Chile and Alaska.

However, these beautiful creatures are facing human-caused threats. In some countries, sea turtles are part of an entire human population diet. By killing the nesting females, and consuming her eggs, humans have reduced the numbers of sea turtles in the world.

Also, sea turtles are accidentally being captured in fisheries ranging from highly mechanized operations to small-scale fishermen around the world.  According to Conserverturtles.com, “Global estimates of annual capture, injury and mortality are staggering – 150,000 turtles of all species killed in shrimp trawls, more than 200,000 loggerheads and 50,000 leatherbacks captured, injured or killed by longlines, and large numbers of all species drowned in gill nets “.

Water pollution has also affected sea turtles. Some turtles like leatherbacks have died trapped in plastic debris in the ocean, or by swallowing plastic residues such as floating bags, balloons, bottles, etc. because they cannot distinguish between jellyfish and plastic. 

Rescuing sea turtles: a gratifying task

Rescuers from Brevard Zoo have released into the Atlantic Ocean, two sea turtles after spending several months in rehabbing. Treasure Coast Newspapers reports that on Wednesday rescuers released Sybil and Fred, nicknames given to the turtles, at Round Island Oceanfront Park in Vero Beach.

Sybil and Fred were found in March. Fred had a fractured shell and broken flipper, while Sybil was discovered in a debilitated state, with barnacles and with liver dysfunction near the St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant

Other two sea turtles were released last June, 16. Hardhead and Beachcomber, two juvenile green sea turtles, were rescued and taken to U.S   National Aquarium in November 2015 to receive rehabbing.

Hardhead was found on the coast of Delaware and taken to the Aquarium for long-term rehabilitation. He had a low body temperature, broken ribs and a torn lung, which did not allow him to swim.
Beachcomber was found with an unknown blood infection and kidney problems after being stranded along the coast of Cape Cod. Through a round of antibiotics and assisted feeding, rescuers saved Beachcomber’s life.  Now he can eat on his own and is healthy enough to live in the ocean.

“The triumph of returning a healthy animal to the wild is the reason we have such a devoted Animal Rescue team[ …] The program is successful today with the help of our staff, volunteers and the good Samaritans who call in trips,” Aquarium Rescue program manager Jennifer Dittmar told Bay Weekly.

Also, the Adventure Aquarium have set a program to help sea turtles. Koop, a nation while hatchling rehab and release program, help turtles to go into the water stronger and healthier. When a hatchling does not make it out of its nest, or it is under other shells, Koop’s volunteers rescue the tiny turtle. Once they are healthy enough to be released into the water, rescuers place a tracker on them for a period to see their performance in the water.

Turtles have a special day

The World Turtle Day is celebrated every May 23.  Since 2000, the American Tortoise Rescue have sponsored this day to bring attention and increase knowledge and respect for one of the oldest species in the world. Protecting turtles is the primary goal. On Turtle Day, some people like to dress up as turtles while others teach people how to save turtles.

If you are interested in seeing these beautiful creatures, but you do not want to go deep into the ocean, there is a great new Sea Turtles Cove exhibit at Adventure Aquarium. It is located few minutes from downtown Philadelphia, where you can see all kinds of turtles and have a great time learning about their diet and life.

Source: Philly