Sea Turtle Information - How Sea Turtles Became Endangered Species

How Sea Turtles
Became Endangered






Florida Everglades

Too Many People,
Too Few Sea Turtles

Adult turtles are of such a size that they have few natural enemies. The need to bury the eggs on land has always been the sea turtle's greatest vulnerability.

A sea turtle on shore has always been a turtle at risk. In the past, there was a natural balance at work as long as the traditional nesting sites were left intact. It was the arrival of Europeans that changed the balance in our part of the world.

A sea turtle on its back is totally helpless

Early European explorers quickly recognized that sea turtles were an ideal fresh meat source. On sailing voyages, turtles could be kept alive indefinitely aboard ship by keeping them on their backs.

Eventually, turtles became popular food in Europe. In England, the clear soup made from the green turtle soon became a status symbol at important banquets.

Green turtles, incidentally, are not named for their external coloration, which is commonly olive-brown with dark streaks, but from the color of their body fat which was once made into soup.

Not only were sea turtles over-exploited for food, many of their prime nesting beaches were destroyed by development. Today, all species of sea turtles except the loggerhead are classified as endangered.

The loggerhead is a threatened species.It is not only illegal to kill sea turtles for their meat or to steal their eggs, it is illegal to import turtle products into the U.S.

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