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WHAT ARE THE MAIN SEA TURTLE THREATS?
Sea turtles are facing dire times as a result of human impacts. Of the seven species of sea turtles, six are considered critically endangered, endangered, or vulnerable. The main sea turtle threats are entanglement in fishing gear; the consumption of their eggs, meat, and shells; but there are other threats becoming larger factors as well.
Status of Feature Species
A recent 20 year long study estimated more than 2 million turtles died in fishing gear. Sea turtles are air-breathing reptiles, and when they get caught in fishing gear they can drown.
In many places, turtle eggs are considered an aphrodisiac. While purchasing eggs is illegal in many countries, there exists a stable underground economy. In addition, turtle meat, especially green turtles, is consumed in many communities, while the colourful shells of hawksbills are used for making crafts.
Nesting beaches are critical to turtle reproduction and large-scale development, especially for tourism, can threaten these animals. Light on the beach can prevent turtles from nesting, waste like plastic affects turtles, and coastal armoring and sand dredging all affect the beaches.
The sex of turtle hatchlings depend on the temperature in the nest, so increasing temperatures threatens to throw off the ratio of males to females. Global warming also threatens coral reefs and other turtle habitats.
Some researchers now believe that every turtle on earth interacts with plastic during its lifetime these days. Turtles confuse them for jellyfish and eating them, climb through plastic debris on nesting beaches, and swim through it on their migrations.
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