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10 February 1999 Issue

The Perilous Life Of A Sea Turtle

Sea Turtle nests, 80-150 eggs, are buried deep in the sand to incubate without
disruption. After 30-60 days, the hatchlings emerge from their shells and climb
out of the nest.

NATURAL SELECTION UNNATURAL SELECTION
* Predation by crabs or mammals * Overexploitation of eggs sold on
* Larval infestation black markets (Not sustainable
* Environmental stress from salt water substinence harvest)
intrusion, extreme temperatures or * Loss of nesting habitat due to
obstruction beachfront development or
alteration
* Motor vehicle traffic on beaches
compacts nests so that hatchlings
cannot climb out.

Hatchlings are born with the genetic knowledge to climb out of the nest and
head towards the water, while imprinting on the beach. They then swim out
into the ocean until reaching floating beds of seaweed where they will live for
their first period of life.

NATURAL SELECTION UNNATURAL SELECTION
* Predation by crabs, fish, sharks * Beach lighting attracts hatchlings
or birds to buildings, roads or construction
* Obstructions that prevent access to sites
nests * Deep vehicle tracks create a
* Lack of genetic fitness impassable trench.
* Domestic dogs and cats eat both
and hatchlings.
* Obstacles like beach chairs and
fishing nets prevent access to the
water.
* Pollution and toxins congregate at
seaweed feeding grounds.

The Sub-adult period of a sea turtle's life is still widely unknown by science.
The true source of this information lies in the myths of the people who have
lived with the sea turtles through time.

NATURAL SELECTION UNNATURAL SELECTION
* Predation by sharks * Boat propellers injure & kill sea
* Environmental hazards such as turtles
hurricanes, and other natural * Commercial fishing, especially
phenomena shrimp fishing, kills tens of
thousands of sea turtles each
year as a byproduct of normal
practices.
* Pollution, including ghost-nets,
kill untold numbers of turtles
each year.

Adult Sea Turtles migrate thousands of miles each season to nest on the
same beach where they were born. The only time that they can renew the
population by returning ashore to nest is also when they are most vulnerable.

NATURAL SELECTION UNNATURAL SELECTION
* Infrequent predation by sharks * Same stresses as sub-adults,
* Loss of nesting habitat due to beach plus......
erosion or obstruction * Overharvest of mature adult sea
turtles for leather, shells, oil,
and meat.
* Chemical pollution suspected
cause of cancer-like tumors,
fibropapiloma, found on turtles.

Restore the Balance......
* Support efforts to deter black market poaching of turtle products. Never buy
wildlife products unless they directly support conservation measures that
are sponsored by environmental organizations.

* Start programs that offer economic alternatives to sea turtles. These include
ecotourism, cottage industries, and local artistry.

* Join efforts to limit beach-front development on sea turtle nesting beaches.

* Don't eat shrimp!! Lobby to enforce TED (Turtle Excluder Device) usage
by shrimp fishermen.

* Lobby to restrict vehicle access on nesting beaches. Kindly educate
motorists of their impact.

* Lobby to eliminate ALL lighting on nesting beaches. Inform current residents
and developers of the use of turtle-sensitive lighting.

* Enforce leash laws on nesting beaches.

* Keep beaches clear of obstacles by educating local hotels and homeowners
of the hazards.

* Practice regular beach cleaning and organize volunteer beach cleanups.

* Restrict boat usage in front of nesting beaches.

ONE WORLD WORKFORCE
A nonprofit organization

"OUR MISSION IS TO PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT.
OUR METHOD IS TO PROVIDE A FRAMEWORK
TO WHICH YOU CAN DONATE RESOURCES OR
VOLUNTEER HANDS-ON AT ENVIRONMENTAL
CONSERVATION FIELD PROJECTS."

PO Box 3188
La Mesa CA 91944-3188
(800) 451-9564 Fax: (619) 589-5544
1world@infomagic.com 
http://www.1ww.org

Go on to Death By Apathys
Return to 10 February 1999 Issue
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