Recently I came across a video of baby Leatherback Sea Turtles hatching through the sand on Vero Beach in Florida. It was truly a special moment to watch.The sand starts to convulse as tons of tiny black turtle heads pop out. Hundreds push their way out of the nest at once, climbing over each other in the process. The video is almost seven minutes long and these little guys do not stop hatching through the entire thing. As the observer pans the camera out, you can see the beach is covered in baby turtles. Toward the end, there are a few stragglers still emerging from the nest. This made me realize how far the mother must have dug to ensure her babies were protected.
Did you know the Leatherback Turtle is on the critically endangered species list? The Leatherback Turtle is named for its shell, which is leather-like instead of hard like other turtles. It is long and pointed at the end with different ridges going vertically across. The Leatherback Turtle is known for its impressive migratory habits. They travel both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans to nest. The Leatherback Turtle is a key component when it comes to jellyfish population control. As the turtle migrates along the California coast, it feeds on a vast amount of jellyfish keeping the water safer for beach-goers.
Despite their contribution to man, Leatherback Turtle numbers are continuing to decrease. In Southeast Asia specifically, legal egg collection has resulted in the local extinction of the Leatherback Turtle. Egg harvesting is performed either as a food resource or commercial trade. To add to the issue, adults are being killed for their shells. As they are unique from other turtle shells, they are subject to commercial sales.
Bycatch by fisheries in the United States is also a threat to the Leatherback Turtle. Turtles are being accidentally caught in nets and on longline hooks, preventing them from reaching the surface to breathe.
Another threat to the Leatherback Turtle is their food supply. They rely on jellyfish as their main food source, but jellyfish have an uncanny resemblance to this man-made rubbish: plastic bags. Try telling the difference between a jellyfish and a plastic bag floating the ocean. Turtles spot these plastic bags thinking they are a tasty snack and end up choking on their lunch.
(Photo: NOAA Fisheries)
There are a lot of factors contributing to the Leatherback Turtle's decline, but there are positive changes being made in their favor. The Animal Welfare Institute is creating policies for all marine life. The organization works at the state, federal, and international levels to enlist policymakers in their efforts to fight fisheries, increase conservation, and amend regulations for specific creatures.
The Leatherback Turtle has been around for hundreds of thousands of years. We at IMAD would like to see the Leatherback Turtle stick around. That is why we designed the Leatherback Turtle pendant. This pendant is created out of recycled bronze medal in Rhode Island. An image of the turtle shows on the front, while the name of the creature is printed on the back. $1 of each IMAD pendant purchase goes to helping the AWI in their fight for animal life!
How can you help?
POWER OF PURCHASE
Use your consumer power to support companies that implement sustainable policies in their trade, "such as the airlines and hotel chains that have chosen not to ship nor serve shark fin products." (AWI)
Choose not to partake in activities that exploit marine animals, for example "swim with the dolphins."
Choose not to buy products created by marine line (shark jawbones, dried star fish, etc.)
Choose to repair your motorboat oil and gasoline leaks immediately.
Choose to use pesticides and other gardening chemicals sparingly, if at all (and if you choose to do so, avoid using them during a rainy forecast).
Choose to cut up plastic soda can rings and avoid other pollution.
YOU HAVE THE POWER TO EFFECT CHANGE!