May 23 is World Turtle Day
American Tortoise Rescue (ATR), a nonprofit organization for the protection of all species of tortoise and turtle, created World Turtle Day to celebrate and protect turtles and tortoises and their disappearing habitats around the world. These gentle animals have been around for 200 million years, yet they are rapidly disappearing due to smuggling, the exotic food industry, habitat destruction, global warming, and the pet trade. The four species of sea turtles that can be found in New York waters are either threatened or endangered.
Here are a few ways you can help sea turtles:
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rethink: these are simple steps to help protect marine species.
- Don’t litter: unwanted trash makes its way just about everywhere, including our waterbodies.
- Don’t release balloons or lanterns: releasing balloons into the environment is potentially fatal for sea turtles, as balloons and plastic bags are commonly mistaken as prey (such as jellyfish).
- Volunteer for beach and park clean ups.
- Stay Informed and share your knowledge with others.
Photo by NOAA.