One of the smallest sea turtles is the Olive Ridley Sea Turtle. They are only about 2-2.5 feet long and weigh up to 100 pounds. Their name comes from the color of their shells, which are heart-shaped. You can find them in the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic oceans, usually in the tropical regions.1
These turtles are important members of their ecosystem. They help maintain links between ecosystems and they help ensure coral reefs and sea grasses stay healthy.2 They are omnivores and eat a variety of prey, including:3
Predators to adult Olive Ridley Sea Turtles are sharks. Meanwhile, predators to young offspring are crabs, birds, snakes, raccoons, and pigs.3
Female turtles lay their eggs on beaches. From June to December, they can lay eggs up to three times.3 When they lay their eggs, they will use their bodies to cover them up with sand.1 When the eggs hatch, the baby turtles make their way to the water, but they are very vulnerable during this journey and many don’t make it.3
These turtles are at risk due to human activity and climate change. They are listed under the Endangered Species Act – most are listed as Threatened, but one breeding colony in Mexico is listed as Endangered. Globally, there has been a 30-50% decline in their population.1
Humans are responsible for the bycatch and exploitation of these turtles for their meat and their eggs.1 Meanwhile, warming temperatures due to climate change also pose a huge threat. The sex of the offspring is determined by the temperature of the sand the eggs are in. As temperatures rise, it may throw off the ratio of females to males that are born. These same warmer temperatures can bring stronger storms that can destroy nesting beaches, too.2
So what’s being done?
Many organizations are helping these turtles by:1&2
- Creating protected areas for nesting and feeding
- Monitoring the nests
- Improving legislation to protect the turtles
- Studying what else affects these turtles to find solutions
- Developing recovery plans to conserve them
By putting plans into action to help conserve species, we can find solutions to help them recover. We strive to be a voice for our nation’s wildlife, especially its carnivores. We know that by sharing important information about animals like wolves, coyotes, and bears, and making everything as accessible and interesting as possible, we can change minds and bring about a better future for our wildlife. We can create a future in which the next generation cares deeply about protecting the world around them, too.
But we cannot create that future by ourselves.
We need you.
Without your support, we can’t do our outreach. We can’t be the voice for these animals. Only with your help can we do what we’ve set out to accomplish.
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