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 Sea Turtles

A green turtle hatchling on ground in Guyana. © CI/Photo by Rod Mast
©  CI/Photo by Roderic B. Mast
Sea Turtle September

Sea turtles have swum Earth's oceans for over 110 million years, and now, because of human conduct, they are threatened with extinction.

Sea turtles are fascinating, charismatic, and highly visible marine species, beloved around the world. Among the most highly migratory animals on Earth, sea turtles are bellwethers for the condition of the world's marine environments: they are found in almost all major oceans, frequent diverse habitats, and face the same threats that jeopardize not only other marine species, but entire marine ecosystems.

In fact, six of the seven sea turtle species are currently categorized as Vulnerable, Endangered, or Critically Endangered globally by the International Union of Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List. They include loggerheads, leatherbacks, hawksbills, olive ridleys, Kemp's ridleys and green sea turtles. The flatback, an endemic to Australia, is currently categorized as Data Deficient.

Conservation International's (CI) Marine Flagship Species Program (MFSP) develops and implements innovative tools for flagship species like sea turtles that leverage marine conservation globally. MFSP combines excellent science with creative outreach campaigns to enhance conservation of sea turtle populations and habitats around the world. In partnership with the IUCN Marine Turtle Specialist Group, Duke University, and CI, the MFSP produces the State of the World's Sea Turtles (SWOT), a global network of researchers, writers, photographers, conservationists and others who contribute their efforts to furthering worldwide sea turtle conservation.

IN PHOTOS: View a photo slideshow of the ranges of the threatened turtle populations

IN PHOTOS: View a photo slideshow of the ranges of the healthy turtle populations

Learn more about CI's work with sea turtles:

Global Conservation Priorities for Marine Turtles

This study is the first comprehensive status assessment of all sea turtle populations globally. Designed to provide a blueprint for conservation and research, it evaluated the state of individual populations of sea turtles and determined the 11 most threatened populations, as well as the 12 healthiest populations.
Scientists Estimate 90% Reduction in Accidental Sea Turtle Deaths in U.S. Fisheries

Co-authored by CI's sea turtle expert, Bryan Wallace, this study records cumulative estimates of sea turtle bycatch and mortality in USA fisheries between 1990 and 2007.
Read dispatches from CI Sea Turtle Scientist Bryan Wallace, who participated in the most widely reported sea turtle conservation event in Ecuador's history. In less than a week, the team deployed satellite transmitters on hawksbill sea turtles and held workshops for the local community.
See what it's like for Green sea turtles in the ocean. These amazing creatures help maintain healthy seagrass beds with their grazing, which are important for absorbing carbon and regulating the climate of the planet.
Turtle Excluder Devices are a new tool which help fisheries keep turtles out of their nets while they trawl for fish. This benefits both the environment by keeping turtles and other top predators alive and the fishing industry. Learn how CI is working with fishermen to increase the use of these devices.
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Posted by Bemmy Granados