Did you know that most sea turtle species are either threatened or endangered?
Here in South Florida we have four main species of sea turtles who share our waters with us, the Loggerhead, the Green, the Kemps Ridley and the Leatherback. Sea turtles hatch out on our sandy beaches and look for a place to find nutrients and protection, leading them to venture out into the deep sea or find safety in lagoons. This task isn’t easy and as a result only about 1 out of 1,000 hatchlings will make it to their juvenile stage. Predators such as larger fish, birds, raccoons, feral cats, ghost crabs and even fire ants take out a large portion of the sea turtle hatchling population.
When the hatchlings reach the water, they are searching for sargassum, floating debris, basically anything to hide them and give them the time to rest after the long haul from the dune to the water. The sea turtles who make it out to sea will be swept away by the currents and hidden in debris giving them a food source and time to develop into a juvenile. The others, however, will find solitude in the mangrove roots and oyster piles in the lagoons. Mangroves serve as protection, water filtration systems and food sources for many different organisms in our ecosystem. For the juvenile sea turtle, this allows them to hide from large predators, rummage around for smaller food such as dead fish, jellyfish, crabs and broken up oysters. Surprisingly, the sea turtle is extremely agile and can glide up to 22mph. The protection mangroves provide gives them the time to learn how to catch food and use their abilities to their best advantage and is an enormous factor in the survival of this beautiful creature!
So what can we do to help protect sea turtles in the future? Education on local waters is our #1 strategy!
Runoff is a huge factor in water pollution, such as streams of toxic chemicals, plastics, and non-biodegradable waste. Here at MANG we are stewards for the environment and want to protect every part of the ecosystem, starting with the mangrove. As sea turtles use mangrove environments in both their adolescent and adult lives, we think it’s important to educate people about how sea turtles interact with their natural habitat.
For the month of January, MANG is collaborating with Loggerhead Marinelife Center by donating a portion of proceeds from our “Turtley MANG collection”, to sea turtle conservation. For every shirt in our Loggerhead Turtley MANG Collection we are donating a portion of proceeds to Loggerhead Marinelife Center. Help us save sea turtles today and plant a mangrove in your name through our Buy One. Plant One. Initiative.