The Green Turtle Scientific Name: Chelonia Mydas

Green sea-turtles are largest of hard shell sea-turtles, growing up to 5 ft in length and weighing up to 700 pounds. The dorsal shell of the green turtle is wide, smooth, and brownish-olive in color. The underside of the shell is yellow.

Over the years, the Green turtles have become listed as "endangered" due to them being over harvested and traded illegally.

Tens of thousands of these turtles are harvested every year, particularly in Asia and the Western Pacific.

They are also caught in West Africa to be use for medicines and other traditional ceremonies.

Worldwide, hundreds of thousands of sea turtles a year are accidentally caught in shrimp trawl nets, on longline hooks and in fishing gillnets

They need to reach the surface to breathe, and the moment they are caught in these nets, it is uncertain whether they will be able to survive.

They are also dependent on beaches for nesting. Human development on beaches (uncontrolled coastal development, vehicle traffic, other human activities) destroy their nesting beaches.

Their feeding grounds, like sea grass beds, are also destroyed from the pollution caused by coastal development.

Green sea turtles are found around the world in warm subtropical and tropical ocean waters. Nesting (shown in map) occurs in over 80 different countries.

Population Estimate: Between 85,000 and 90,000 nesting females

There is little current information on the status of their population, however their extinction risk is listed as "vulnerable," which means that the population is still not stable

There are laws in place that protect these turtles, especially the young ones, from the over-exploitation and pollution produced by humans because the are on the endangered species list

The turtles' habitat is mostly beds of sea grass and coastal waters, however it depends on their life stage.

The female turtles, after breeding, dig a hole on the beach to lay their eggs. Her only role is to lay eggs, after that the hatchlings are left to fend for themselves. While up to 200 eggs can possibly be laid, many young turtles are the eye of predators, such as birds, and are victims of light pollution from buildings falsely leading them.

Green sea turtles are crucial to the health of sea grass beds and coral reefs, which ultimately end up benefiting other species such as shrimp, lobster, and tuna. They also hold much cultural value as they have been around for over 100 million years.

What is Being Done to Protect Them?

Organizations such as World Wild Life are attempting to combat illegal trade in the Coral triangle and trying to reduce the demand for the turtles from China. They have also established many marine protected areas to help sustain the turtles' habitats. Satellite tracking is also a very important tool being used to help track the green sea turtle's population, their movement, feeding areas, and anticipate if the turtles will come in contact with fisheries.

Bibliography

"Chelonia Mydas ." Chelonia Mydas (Green Turtle). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, n.d. Web. 05 Jan. 2017.

"Green Sea Turtle." National Wildlife Federation. National Wildlife Federation, n.d. Web. 05 Jan. 2017.

Henry, Leigh. "Sea Turtle." WWF. World Wildlife Fund, n.d. Web. 05 Jan. 2017.

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