World Turtle Day is much more that just taking the time to sit back and admire these adorable creatures.
This day was established by American Tortoise Rescue, which has a focus for raising awareness for the illegal animal trafficking, advocating for the survival of turtles and tortoises, and protecting these animals worldwide.
Just recently, the Australian green-haired punk turtle, aka the Mary River Turtle (seriously, google what these little guys look like… you won’t regret it!) has been added to the Zoological society of London’s endangered species list, and this demonstrates just how important it is to ensure the protection and survival of these amazing animals.
- All 7 species of sea turtles are at risk of poaching or illegal trade for their meat, eggs, or shell
- Approximately 42,000 threatened sea turtles are killed globally each year – and that’s only counting the ones captured legally. The legal hunting of sea turtles is allowed in 42 countries and territories, including Australia.
- Mary River Turtles are an endangered short-necked turtle that are endemic to the Mary River in south-east Queensland. They breath through their butt (cloaco), allowing them to stay underwater for up to three days!
- In 2015, a four-month survey in Jakarta found that 4,985 tortoises and freshwater turtles from 65 different species were for sale in pet stores and animal markets
- According to the Sea Turtle Conservatory, 100 million marine animals die each year due to plastic debris in the ocean
- An international study led by the University of Queensland has revealed that 52% of the world's sea turtles have ingested some form of human rubbish
So... How can you help?
You might be wondering what you can do in a world where biodiversity is severely under threat and declining globally?
- Reduce your plastic consumption by using recyclable and reusable bags. You could even try Plastic Free July!
- Participate in a beach clean up - like the ones organised by Sea Shepherd Australia's Marine Debris Campaign.
- If you don’t have time to take action, sign the Plastic Free WA petition or make a donation!