World Turtle Day: what to do to protect the world’s oldest creatures

Wonderful turtles! Like every year, World Turtle Day is celebrated on May 23rd, established by the non-profit organization American Tortoise Rescue with the aim of raising awareness of the conditions of these ancient creatures and the state of the habitats in which they live. But how much do we know to safeguard turtles?

Turtles, such as the loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and the green turtle (Chelonia mydas), have been residents of our planet for countless millennia. Predominantly found in the Mediterranean, some of these ancient creatures can live up to two centuries. Despite their longevity and widespread presence, many are unaware that turtles are also facing the threat of extinction, with species like the loggerhead and the green turtle listed on the IUCN‘s Red List.

Why we celebrate World Turtle Day

The creation of World Turtle Day by an American organization aims to “increase respect and knowledge of one of the world’s oldest creatures“, according to the event’s website. This initiative highlights the importance of understanding turtles and taking active steps to protect them.

Simple yet vital actions to protect turtles

Never buy turtles from pet stores

If you are considering adding a turtle to your home, adopt, don’t shop. Like dogs and cats, purchasing turtles from pet stores is discouraged. Many of these animals are illegally removed from their natural habitats or are victims of international trafficking.

If you become aware of illegal turtle sales, report them to the authorities.

Never remove a turtle from its natural habitat unless it’s injured

Should you come across a turtle in the wild, please let it be unless it appears to need help. In such cases, contact a veterinarian, or if the turtle seems to be struggling minimally, simply move it to a safer location.

Reduce your impact on the oceans

Protecting our oceans plays a crucial role in safeguarding turtle populations. Actions such as reducing plastic use, supporting sustainable fishing practices, and participating in beach clean-ups can significantly lessen the negative effects on their habitats.

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