Student Press of Braden River High School

Florida’s turtles need protecting

Only one out of thousands of sea turtles will reach adulthood, according to the Sea Turtle Conservancy.

Twenty-five percent of the U.S. sea turtle native species are protected by the Endangered Species Act, as stated in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. There have been many incidents reported in the past year involving these creatures.

Sept. 10, a turtle named Splinter was found off the coast of Key Largo, Florida, but not in the all-too-common plastic-related situation. Instead, the large animal was discovered impaled by a 3-foot spear in its neck. According to The Washington Post, the rod was lodged so deep that it spanned half its body.

It’s heartbreaking to hear about this stuff,” freshman Kelsey Wilson said. “Why do people continuously harm these creatures?

Another case occurred when several charred baby sea turtles were spotted on the beach. Rhonda Wundke is the woman who came upon this scene. Wundke found the turtles that had been burned to death. “It was a nightmare in person to see,” Wundke said in a tweet. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commision (FWC) launched an investigation to find the person responsible.

That really bothers me,” freshman Katia Singh said. “I don’t know how someone could have the soul to do that.”

Because sea turtles face everyday hazards, anyone can help by learning and informing others on how to protect these creatures. Nesting season is especially dangerous. There are several ways that something seemingly small could lead to disaster for the baby turtles. If someone encounters hatchlings, they should make sure no flashlights are shining in that direction (to not mess with tracks left by the turtles), to not handle the eggs or babies, and to stay clear of their path.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commision (FWC) advises that if a sea turtle or a nest is spotted in a hazardous situation, contacting the FWC or the Sea Turtle Preservation Society’s emergency hotline at 321-206-0646 is the next move. According to the Loggerhead Marinelife Center, if a turtle is hooked on a line by accident, then the line should be gently reeled in, making sure the turtle stays at the water’s surface. Either the Loggerhead Marinelife Center or the FWC should be immediately notified. Simple steps can go a long way in helping these marine creatures.

I feel like there are a lot of people out there who are not educated about sea turtles,” freshman Ava Usher said. “Maybe if more people knew what to do, then we might have fewer incidents resulting in death.”

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