If you are looking for examples of how concerned people have mobilized to help a species, the worldwide efforts to save the Great Sea Turtles is a good place to start. If it weren’t for individuals getting involved on every continent, these ancient species, with lifespans that exceed humans, who travel thousands of miles through open ocean, might well be completely extinct by now.The list of organizations helping to protect the seven species of Great Sea Turtles is partially represented at the end of EcoWorld’s current top story on the home page “Saving the Great Sea Turtle” but there are far more than we could compile there. A good place to find the names of hundreds of individuals and organizations helping the Great Sea Turtles is to access the directory at www.SeaTurtle.org.
In the personal account by EcoWorld correspondant Daniela Muhawi, the struggle of the Hawksbill Sea Turtle to nest on Kamehame beach in Hawaii is described in some detail. Probably the biggest threat to the Great Sea Turtles is the encroachment of civilization on their nesting beaches. Very few Sea Turtle hatchlings ever made it from these nests to the ocean, but nowadays with introduced predators including domestic cats, artificial lighting that make females think it’s daytime and keep them from coming ashore to lay their eggs, roads that block females from their nests, and of course poachers who remove and sell the eggs, the chances for the Sea Turtles to reproduce is slim indeed.
With the help of volunteers around the world who monitor beaches where Sea Turtles establish their nests, however, the odds swing back somewhat in favor of the species. These efforts, along with the steady adoption by fishermen of nets that provide an escape for large sea animals, have given the Great Sea Turtles hope, though they remain endangered.