August 2017- Part II
The Sea Turtle Threats:
- Poachers & Predators
- Dangerous Fishing Practices & Entanglement
- Coastal Threats
- Global Warming
- Scientific Influences
- Recent Dangers to Sea Turtles
None of the threats are from evolution or other natural causes. Humans have inflicted the damage.
Poachers catch/ capture adult Sea Turtles for their meat. In Costa Rica and in many other countries Sea Turtle meat is an delicacy. Very often it is consumed as a form of inexpensive protein; especially in rural areas where there are fewer opportunities to earn a living. Before eating, the meat is prepared like any other meat-kind, cooked and served with local carbohydrates like yucca. Sea Turtle meat is the main ingredient in seafood soups and stews, it is in high demand.
Sea Turtle eggs are considered a strong aphrodisiac by many persons; not only in Costa Rica but worldwide. Sea Turtle eggs are dug-up from their nest in the sand; it contains the clutch. People use the eggs in numerous ways- they are mixed with alcohol to make a cocktail, or consumed raw in a shot-glass. Both men and women drink the raw eggs frequently; it is believed to enhance their libido.
Sea Turtle eggs can be prepared as you would a chicken’s eggs. In local communities where wages are both low and scarce, the eggs are an important nutritional source for families.
Countermeasure – Sea Turtle eggs are of great importance to local communities, both as a source of income and nutrition. In designing conservation methods this had to be factored into the equation. Conservationists developed laws restricting the number of Sea Turtle eggs a Tico could legally keep; they were licensed accordingly. Ticos are granted a permit allowing them to keep a portion of the Sea Turtle eggs taken from the nests. The balance are handed over to conservationists and Rangers for further incubation until they are ready to hatch. The eggs controlled by conservationists are later released as hatchlings into the sea. This program is overseen by Conservationists, Rangers, Coast Guard, police-personnel and a strong contingent of volunteers.
Predators of Endangered Sea Turtles
The list of predators stalking Sea Turtles goes beyond people digging-up their nests. It includes sea- birds, raccoons, dogs, and crabs who consume them in large numbers. Conservations claim that less than 20% of all Sea Turtle eggs make it to the surf. There new dangers await them. The ocean’s, whales and sharks, especially Tiger Sharks, feed on hatchlings and adults alike.
Countermeasure– The Sea Turtle eggs once harvested by organizations protecting them are placed in wired, protective areas; often using the sand and natural sunlight to continue the incubation of the eggs. This added protection restricts access by predators and ensures a greater number of the Sea Turtle eggs hatch.
Dangerous Fishing Practices & Entanglement
Dangerous Fishing Practices & Entanglement are Continuous Threats to Sea Turtles. Sea Turtles share the same waters as fish, shrimp, lobsters and crabs; these are an important part of many Sea Turtle’s diets. This source of food also beckons the commercial fisherman seeking tons of fish per trip. Commercial fishermen’s nets indiscriminately capture Sea Turtles and other marine species in the process. The Sea Turtles trapped in the fishing nets drown.