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Why is the loggerhead turtle in danger of extinction

The loggerhead turtle ( Caretta caretta ), loggerhead, cayume or loggerhead turtle is a turtle belonging to the Cheloniidae family, present in the Pacific, Indian, Atlantic and Mediterranean oceans. Currently, there are various risk factors, both anthropic and natural, that endanger their existence and explain the current decline in their populations.

Therefore, in this AgroCorrn article we explain why the loggerhead turtle is in danger of extinction and we also show you what measures can be taken to reverse this situation.

You may also be interested in: Endangered Turtles
  1. Characteristics of the loggerhead turtle
  2. Why is the loggerhead turtle in danger of extinction – causes
  3. How to avoid the extinction of the loggerhead turtle

Characteristics of the loggerhead turtle

Before explaining why this important spice is in danger of extinction, let’s look at some characteristics of the loggerhead turtle :

  • It is the largest species of turtle in the Cheloniidae family and is characterized by having a large head and a very strong jaw, as well as a reddish-brown carapace on the dorsal part and yellow on the ventral part.
  • It is carnivorous and plays an important ecological role in the marine ecosystems it occupies, feeding on various invertebrates (mollusks and crustaceans) and altering the seabed by searching for prey in the sediment. In addition, its shell serves as a place of attachment to numerous encrusting animals and plants.
  • The age of sexual maturity of this species is between 10 and 37 years. The females lay their eggs an average of 3 to 5 times per spawning season (in a period of 12 to 23 days), leaving between 40 and 190 eggs in each nest . They always spawn in the same place, which coincides with the place of birth. It usually takes two or three years before they reproduce again.
  • It is widely distributed in the coastal waters of subtropical and temperate regions. It is the most common species of turtle in the Mediterranean and they nest on the coasts of Greece, Turkey, Israel or Libya. They are migratory organisms and travel long distances following large warm currents such as the Gulf Stream or the California Stream.
  • It is especially vulnerable to bycatch in nets and fishing lines from fisheries around the world.

Why is the loggerhead turtle in danger of extinction – causes

The loggerhead turtle is included in the red list of endangered species and has been classified by the IUCN as “vulnerable”. Likewise, it is included in the list of animals in danger of extinction of the Habitats Directive, as well as by the Barcelona conventions and migratory species. The causes that explain why the loggerhead turtle is in danger of extinction are:

  • Tourist pressure : the egg-laying areas in the Mediterranean receive enormous coastal and tourist pressure, especially in summer, when spawning takes place, which affects the reproductive success of the species.
  • Bycatch : the use of certain fishing gear such as drift and trawl nets, longliners and vertical fishing lines is highly associated with the death of thousands of loggerheads each year. Bycatch is the main cause of the decline in loggerhead populations worldwide, with up to 40% declines in populations in South Florida (Atlantic spawning area) in the last decade. . You can learn more about what is trawling in this other AgroCorrn article.
  • Turtle hunting : the loggerhead turtle is hunted for its meat and skin. The hunting pressure to which they are subjected has led them to be protected in several places, although these protection measures are not always effective and this continues to be one of the main threats to the recovery of the populations of this species. The eggs of the loggerhead turtle are also stolen for gastronomic purposes.
  • Pollution of the marine environment : each year, large numbers of loggerhead turtles become entangled in marine debris; discarded fishing nets, ropes or plastics that cause serious injury and even death to the animal. In addition, due to the ubiquity of marine pollution, loggerhead turtles come into contact with plastic materials (such as balloons, bags or fragments) and ingest them when they mistake them for food, which can lead to the death of the animal or affect its capacity reproductive. This article on Human actions that destroy the seas can help you avoid carrying out some of them.
  • Loss and degradation of habitat : the degradation of the beaches by the construction of breakwaters to prevent erosion, the increase in human activity or light pollution also endanger the species.
  • Climate change : both the success and the viability of the offspring of the species depend on the environment in which they are incubated, including aspects such as the local climate and its changes (air temperature, rainfall, etc.). With the increase in global temperatures, certain nesting beaches in more tropical areas will see a clear decrease in the success of hatchling production. Take a look at this article on How Climate Change Affects Biodiversity .

How to avoid the extinction of the loggerhead turtle

After understanding why the loggerhead turtle is in danger of extinction, we discussed what can be done to reverse this situation . The following are the measures to prevent the extinction of the loggerhead turtle that we propose from AgroCorrn:

  • Protection of spawning areas and their habitats : it is important to protect nesting beaches, reducing light pollution and securing the area, as lights can disorient females and young. It is also important to keep the beaches clean and clear them of any obstacles (such as umbrellas or sunbeds), as well as to fill in the holes in the sand for turtles or to fall and avoid driving inside the beach, as it could prevent the females from spawning or inflict damage to nests and emerging hatchlings.
  • Reduction of bycatch : in certain countries turtle excluder devices (TEDs) are used that are installed in fishing equipment and reduce bycatch.
  • Establishment of a network of protected areas : Governments and conservation organizations should design representative protection areas in places like the Mediterranean, South Africa, Madagascar and Australia, among others.
  • Reduction of marine pollution : the less amount of marine debris there is, the less likely it is that turtles will ingest it and / or become trapped in it. To do this, you can participate in events to collect and clean the coast, reduce the consumption of plastics, practice recycling, etc. Find out more about this very important topic in the following article on Marine pollution: causes and consequences .
  • Management and conservation programs : there are organizations such as the National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA) in the United States that are dedicated to the recovery and conservation of sea turtles through the enactment of national and local laws to protect them, international cooperation in the implementation conservation measures and the establishment of international agreements, as well as by proposing changes in fisheries practices.
  • Scientific research : funding for research projects on the biology, behavior, and ecology of the loggerhead turtle is needed to inform conservation decisions to take and improve recovery efforts. These projects include population monitoring and genetic studies, tagging and capture, and migratory patterns, as well as the impacts of environmental changes on the abundance, distribution, and demographics of turtles. The design of fishing equipment that minimizes bycatch must also be promoted and work on the generation of global monitoring systems for existing populations.
  • Respect the turtles : tourists should admire the turtles from a safe distance and not disturb or feed them, as it could affect their behavior. It is also important to notify the relevant organizations in case of seeing injured, stranded or entangled animals.

In the video below you can learn the story of Rambo, the loggerhead turtle without 2 fins that was rescued by the CRAM Foundation , which works mainly to help the Turtles of the Mediterranean Sea . Collaborating with these types of foundations is a very good way to help these marine species.

If you want to read more articles similar to Why is the loggerhead turtle in danger of extinction , we recommend that you enter our category of Endangered Animals .

Maria Anderson

Hello, I am a blogger specialized in environmental, health and scientific dissemination issues in general. The best way to define myself as a blogger is by reading my texts, so I encourage you to do so. Above all, if you are interested in staying up to date and reflecting on these issues, both on a practical and informative level.

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