World Sea Turtle Day Date in the current year: June 16, 2024

World Sea Turtle Day World Sea Turtle Day is celebrated annually on June 16 to spread awareness about the endangered status of most sea turtle species caused by ocean pollution and oil spills, extensive tourism activity, global warming, fishing and poaching, disease, and other factors.

Sea turtles, also known as marine turtles, are reptiles of the superfamily Chelonioidea that exist in sea waters. There are seven extant marine turtle species: the Australian flatback sea turtle, the green sea turtle, the hawksbill sea turtle, Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, the leatherback sea turtle, the loggerhead sea turtle, and the olive ridley sea turtle.

Sea turtles originated approximately 150 million years ago during the Late Jurassic epoch. They can be found in the oceans throughout the world except for the polar regions, although some sea turtles exist solely in a certain region. Marine turtles can migrate over large distances to reach beaches where they breed.

Some sea turtles are omnivorous, some prefer certain prey (for example, hawksbill sea turtles mostly feed on sponges, while leatherback sea turtles eat almost exclusively jellyfish, helping control their populations), and some great sea turtles become herbivorous as they mature and feed on algae and seagrass.

Sadly, six turtle species that can be found in the United States are classified as endangered and/or threatened. The flatback sea turtle, which can be found only in Australian waters, is the least endangered of all seven sea turtle species, but it is considered a vulnerable species in Australia.

The main threats to sea turtles, some of which are already listed above, include poaching for eggs and meat, bycatch (getting accidentally captured in fishing gear), the wildlife trade, climate change, habitat loss, pollution of beach nesting sites, marine pollution (including oil spills and ocean plastic), and others.

World Sea Turtle Day was established by a group of turtle conservation organizations in 2000. It is celebrated on June 16 to commemorate the birth anniversary of the renowned American ecologist and conservationist Archie Carr. Dr. Carr is best known for raising awareness of the sea turtle population decline due to habitat loss and overexploitaiton.

How can you observe World Sea Turtle Day? You can join the celebration by visiting a turtle exhibit at your local zoo or aquarium, donating to a marine conservation charity, symbolically “adopting” a sea turtle, participating in a beach cleanup, watching or documentary or read a book about sea turtles, and spreading awareness of the holiday on social media using the hashtag #WorldSeaTurtleDay. You can also take a pledge to reduce the use of single-use plastic that pollutes the sea and encourage others to do the same.

Do not confuse World Sea Turtle Day with World Turtle Day that is observed on May 23. World Turtle Day, created by American Tortoise Rescue, celebrates all species of turtles and tortoises, while World Sea Turtle Day focuses on the conservation of turtle species that are exist in sea waters.

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World Sea Turtle Day, international observances, environmental observances, sea turtles, marine turtles