These photos of sea turtles being released back into the sea show what amazing creatures they are.
Can we take a moment to appreciate the majestic sea turtle?
Because on Sept. 16, 2015, marine police in Indonesia rescued 45 turtles from illegal poachers.
While the sea turtle population faces threats from climate change and habitat loss, the World Wildlife Fund also says the number of turtles lost to illegal poaching and overharvesting numbers in the « tens of thousands » each year, with almost 5,000 a year being picked up as « bycatch » just by Indonesian longline vessels
These lucky 45 turtles were spared a grisly fate at the hands of illegal poachers and set free the next day by the marine police, with the help of some tourists.
But … let’s just take a moment to learn about these amazing creatures.
Of the seven species of sea turtle in our oceans, the World Wildlife Fund ranks three (leatherback, hawksbill, and Kemp’s ridley turtles) as critically endangered, two (loggerhead and green turtles) as endangered, one (olive ridley turtles) as vulnerable, and the last one (flatback turtles) as « insufficient data » (but according to the Sea Turtle Conservancy, it used to be listed as vulernable sooooo … there’s that).
The turtles set free in these photos appear to be mostly green sea turtles.
Did you know that a sea turtle born the same day as you is probably still alive — aaaaand might just outlive you, too?
And sea turtles don’t have anything on tortoises, which have been documented living long past the century mark. But sea turtles have been known to live anywhere from 50 to 150 years, depending on their environment and species.
Or that green sea turtles are basically the lawnmowers of the ocean?
According to this Oceana report (PDF), the green turtle’s grazing habits prevent seagrass beds from getting in the way of currents and help keep the oceanic food chain productive and healthy. So if you like eating lobster, you better care about people not eating the green sea turtle.
How about that turtles travel hundreds of thousands of miles across the ocean but come back to the beach to nest?
And not just any old random beach, either. They’ve been known to come back to the same beach where they were born to make their nests. I can barely even remember where I left my keys, and I always leave my keys in the same place.
Some species, like the Eastern Pacific green turtle, have been known to come up on land just to rest in the sun for a bit.
Bottom line: Turtles deserve our respect.
These guys are just trying to help, but there’s no way to make this rescue look dignified.
So let’s just leave the turtles in the ocean where they belong, OK
You’re free now, turtle friends.