Sea Turtle Headstarting
Sea turtles are ancient marine reptiles that evolved around 80-110 million years ago, and survived through the extinction event that killed the dinosaurs. Today there are 7 living species of sea turtles, which can be found throughout the world’s oceans (except polar regions). Although the evolved from land turtles and breath air, they only come to land to lay eggs.
Sea Turtles on Koh Tao
Here on ‘Turtle Island’ they are one of our most revered marine animals, respected by divers and non-divers alike. We have three species of sea turtles which visit our island, the Green, Hawksbill, and Olive Ridley. Sea turtles are valuable animals; ecologically, economically, culturally, and in education. Although we encounter sea turtles quite regularly here while snorkeling or diving, populations of sea turtles are in decline world wide. Unfortunately, today most of the world’s sea turtles species are listed as endangered or threatened with extinction.
The main threats to sea turtles are marine debris (plastic bags, cigarette butts, etc), fishing (as by catch or stranded in nets), beach development, black market trading, and climate change. Protection of turtles has been undertaken in many areas for decades, but unfortunately enforcement is nearly impossible. Furthermore marine debris and climate change are global problems, which are difficult if not impossible to solve.