Baby Turtles Are Dying in the Most Unlikely of Ways

baby turtle featWe all know sea levels are rising, but we usually focus on the way it will affect our cities and homes. Recent research suggests there’s something much more pressing we’re not talking about.

Sea Turtles? Drowning?

squareThe world’s largest green sea turtle population nests on an island in the Great Barrier Reef. On any given night during nesting season, more than 10,000 females come ashore to lay eggs.

Sounds like a lot, right? Sadly, only 12 to 36 percent of those eggs actually hatch. “A lot of them die in the nest,” says Dr. David Pike of James Cook University.

But researchers weren’t sure why — until a recent study revealed something no one expected.

The Eggs Can’t Breathe

Sea turtle eggs are extremely fragile during their eight-week incubation. Flooding events, which are known to wash away nests and drown young turtles, are also powerful enough to suffocate turtle eggs by submerging them underwater for extended periods.

In fact, a recent study revealed that eggs’ chances of survival can drop by as much as 30 percent after a flood.

What Can We Do About It?

The good news? We can be the solution. According to Dr. Pike, the best way to ensure these eggs survive incubation is to enlist volunteers to physically move nests further inshore.

And the best news of all: Our hardworking partners are already doing it!

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Last year, our partner the Visakha Society For Protection and Care of Animals (VSPCA) was able to protect 319 nests from devastation. That’s nearly 35,000 hatchlings that survived thanks to support from generous donors like you! Next year, we want that number to be even higher.

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G. H. was raised in Minnesota, but currently calls Seattle her home. She's a blogger, editor, and journalist, and she's written everything from news reports to restaurant reviews. If she's not putting pen to paper, G. H. is probably experimenting in the kitchen, chilling out on her yoga mat, or running through a city park.