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Sea Turtle Conservation Program

Green Sea TurtleSea Turtles are seriously threatened, many are nearing extinction. Below are a few links to organizations that are making an effort to help save these amazing creatures. Find out how you can become a volunteer by contacting your location environmental group in your area.

How Can the Public Help?

Without the support of the general public, the survival of sea turtles on our planet is doubtful. Here are some ways that the concerned and interested citizen can help the cause:

  1. As much as possible, refrain from walking on the beach at night during the summer months (April through August) where sea turtles are known to nest. No matter how quiet you try to be, in most cases you will unknowingly frighten nesting sea turtles back into the sea.
  2. Never keep sea turtles in aquariums. They may survive, but without the proper permits, this is a violation of the law.
  3. Keep bright lights from shining onto the beach where sea turtles are known to nest. Homeowners that have security or safety lights near the beach should build shades around the light so the beach is not directly illuminated. Hatchlings will be disoriented by bright lights.
  4. Avoid using flashlights or flash photography on the beach at night where sea turtles are known to nest.
  5. If you see someone harassing a sea turtle or poaching a nest, call the local police!!
  6. Do not dispose of plastic bags in the ocean. Plastic bags in the ocean very closely resemble a favorite food of sea turtles (jellyfish) and will cause death or illness to the turtle that eats them.
  7. Stay clear of marked sea turtle nests on the beach. DISTURBING A SEA TURTLE NEST IS A VIOLATION OF STATE AND FEDERAL LAWS.
  8. Find out how you can become a local volunteer in your area or join an Adopt-a-Nest program.


What to do if you see a Turtle...

If you observe an adult sea turtle or hatchling sea turtles on the beach, please adhere to the following rules and guidelines:

  1. It is normal for sea turtles to be crawling on the beach on summer nights. DO NOT report normal crawling or nesting (digging or laying eggs) activity. If the animal is in a dangerous situation (on a road, in a parking lot, etc.) or has wandered well of the beach call the proper authorities.
  2. Stay away from crawling or nesting sea turtles. Although the urge to observe closely will be great, please resist the urge. Nesting is a critical stage in the sea turtle's life cycle. Please leave them undisturbed.
  3. DO REPORT all stranded (dead, injured, or apparently healthy) turtles to the proper authorities. Report all turtles that have not moved for 30 minutes or longer.
  4. Never handle hatchling sea turtles. If you observe hatchlings wandering away from the ocean or on the beach, call the proper authorities immediately.
  5. Sea Turtle Reporting Numbers - (USA)

Sea Turtle Illustrations
Courtesy of Sea Turtle Conservation Program of Broward County, Florida

1. Kemp's Ridley  2. Hawksbill  3. Loggerhead  4. Green  5. Leatherback

Fact Sheets:


In the News

Fisheries Service Ignores Science... ( Full Story )
Will Allow Continued Harm to Sea Turtles in the Atlantic - The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has announced its plans not to require the use of fishing gear proven to protect threatened and endangered sea turtles. Posted: The Ocean Conservancy Action Alert, June 23, 2004


Other Information

Heron Island: Island of the Turtles (multimedia program) - Towards the southern part of Australia's Great Barrier Reef lies a tiny island called Heron Island. Here, visitors can escape to a world dominated by nature. Sea birds abound and the nearby reefs teem with life. Huge Manta Rays sweep across shallow reef outcroppings while large schools of colorful fish dart by. However, the island is dominated by the nesting Green Sea Turtle. Visitors can observe these majestic animals as they haul themselves up onto the beach each night to deposit eggs. The fierce struggle for existence is also evident as tiny hatchlings emerge from their nests and scamper towards the sea.

Join Eco-Photo Explorers as they journey "down under" to visit one of nature's special places. ( program information )

Running time: 90 minutes
Audience: Families
Program Number: DP19



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Last Modified: March 02, 2008

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