What Can I Do to Help Sea Turtles?

What Can I Do to Help Sea Turtles?

Help, sea turtles are in trouble! 

With unique and natural body armor, it's pretty much obvious that sea turtles are supposed to live long. They are built to last. However, due to many factors, that doesn't seem to be the case anymore. Major threats are around to challenge their survival, and so far, they are losing the battle. 

Did you know that sea turtles are in danger? They're endangered and we need to help them.

But.. How can we do that? How can we help sea turtles and how can we save them from extinction? Before we get to that, first, let’s meet the different species of sea turtles.

Meet the sea turtles

Here are the 7 species of sea turtles and their status:


1. Leatherback - Vulnerable. 

This species is known to be the largest of sea turtles. Unfortunately, the species is rapidly declining in many areas.


2. Loggerhead - Vulnerable. 

Loggerheads are known for their large heads. They are threatened due to worldwide habitat loss.


3. Green turtle - Endangered. 

The green turtle species has the most dispersed nesting sites. Their meat, body fat, and eggs are highly sought after for consumption.


4. Flatback - Data Deficient. 

This species has one of the smallest geographic ranges. They are also the least studied among the sea turtles species. Flatbacks nest solely along the northern coast of Australia, Southern Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea.


5. Kemp’s Ridley - Endangered. 

The smallest of the sea turtles. The Kemp’s ridley has a highly restricted range. Fifty years ago, this species was close to extinction and though this species now shows signs of recovery, it is still threatened by human and coastal development.


6. Olive Ridley - Vulnerable. 

They are the most abundant of sea turtles, but unfortunately, this species is increasingly threatened by trawling and coastal development.


7. Hawksbill - Critically Endangered. 

Hawksbills are known for their sharp and pointed beak, and beautiful, translucent shell. And because of that, they are exploited for use in turtle shell jewelry.

How can you help sea turtles? There are a number of different things you can do to help these endangered animals and in this blog, we’re going to go over the ways to help sea turtles. But before we get to that, first, it’s important to know what are the threats that are endangering them.

Here are the five major threats to sea turtles worldwide, according to The State Of The World’s Sea Turtles (SWOT).


Five Major Threats to Sea Turtles

How can I help sea turtles? We all can help sea turtles survive by learning about and avoiding harmful human activities that are endangering them.

As you may have heard, sea turtles are facing a crisis. Many species are endangered, and some are even extinct. Here are the major reasons and what you can do to avoid them so you can help protect sea turtles


1. Fishery Impacts

The fishing industry is estimated to contribute to the death of thousands, even tens of thousands of sea turtles each year. Turtles get caught, trapped in the fishing nets as bycatch, and have to be thrown back into the sea injured– or worse, dead.


Even if they don’t get trapped, the fishing nets may cause disruptions to their habitat and feeding process.

What can you do:

How to help sea turtles from the harmful impacts of the fishery? Here are some efforts to help protect sea turtles by minimizing fishery impacts:

  • Eat fish sustainably. Here’s how.
  • Spread awareness. 
  • Stay informed about fisheries issues and how you can save the sea turtles from their harmful impacts 


2. Coastal Development

Sea turtles are among the most affected animals that suffer from coastal development. This is because of two reasons: loss of habitat and a reduction in nesting grounds. 


Female sea turtles come ashore to lay eggs. Human development along the coast makes it more difficult for them to find a place to nest and reproduce. 

What can you do:

Help protect their habitat, A.K.A. the coastlines. You can do this by:

  • Supporting turtle-friendly tourism
  • Whether you live or just visit the turtle nesting beach, it’s important to minimize your impact on sea turtles– minimal use of a flashlight, clean up, leave the beach as how you saw it, and avoid driving on the beach and using car headlights. 


3. Pollution and Pathogens

Pollution affects sea turtles in many ways, both directly and indirectly. Turtles are threatened by land-based sources of pollution; including plastic waste, pesticides and fertilizers, discarded fishing nets, and garbage. All of these can contaminate the oceans and harm sea turtles and disrupt their habitat.


What can you do:

Reducing pollution is one of the most effective efforts for sea turtle conservation. Here’s how you can reduce pollution to help sea turtles:

  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
  • Be mindful of the products you purchase. What are the raw materials? Can it be recycled after use? 
  • Support sea turtle-friendly products
  • Participate in coastal cleanups 


4. Direct Take

One of the reasons why sea turtles are close to being endangered is because they are being hunted and slaughtered for their meat, oil, and shells. According to SWOT, millions of hawksbill turtles have been killed for their shells over the past 100 years. 


What you can do:


You can help sea turtles by keeping them off your plate and out of your jewelry box. Avoid consuming them and purchasing products that are made from sea turtles. If you come across items or products that you know are made of turtle shells, report them. 


5. Climate Change

There used to be MANY more sea turtles in the wild. Today, most of the seven species are in danger of extinction. Besides poaching, we're also learning about how climate change can impact sea turtle numbers. 


Rising temperatures will eventually make it harder for sea turtles to find safe beaches to nest on. In addition, increasing sand temperatures can negatively impact the sex ratios of turtle hatchlings. This means nests can have a mixture of mostly male or mostly female hatchlings, which reduces their chances of survival. 


Additionally, the frequency of extreme weather events caused by climate change destroys nesting beaches and coral reefs.


What you can do:

Help sea turtles and their habitat by reducing your carbon footprint and fighting climate change. How to do that? Here are some tips:

  • Turn off the lights when they’re not in use or necessary.
  • Save energy by unplugging appliances that are not in use. Believe it or not, appliances can still draw energy even when powered off, so it’s safest to unplug them.
  • Walk or bike to your destination when you can. If it’s not possible, consider taking public transportation or carpooling from time to time.


There are many reasons why sea turtles are vital in our ecosystem and why it is also important to keep them safe.


The likelihood of a sea turtle hatching, growing up, and reaching sexual maturity is getting slimmer and slimmer as days go by. So even if you don't do anything else to help them, if you avoid these major threats that are harming sea turtles, or if you just do the first two or three, your impact will be felt for many years to come.


Because sea turtles are so vulnerable to human activities, the best way we can help them survive is to avoid those activities that will hurt them. We have a lot of power here, so let's do our part to keep our sea turtles safe. 

You can help turn things around! You can help save sea turtles so they can live as long as they should.