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Let's meet Canada's sea turtles

Wednesday, June 16th 2021, 1:58 pm - Learn more about sea turtle species that can be found in Canada and how you can help them out.

It's World Sea Turtle Day, an initiative to celebrate and raise awareness about the many species of sea turtles that are at risk or endangered, mainly due to human activity.

Here's a look at some of the sea turtle species you can find in Canada.

LOGGERHEAD TURTLE

loggerhead A loggerhead sea turtle in an aquarium tank. (Ukanda/Wikipedia/Flickr CC BY 2.0)

Loggerhead turtles can be found throughout the world and spends most of their time in the water.

They have a lifespan of 47-67 years, but their population numbers are dwindling. Currently listed as a vulnerable species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature), the turtles face many threats, including loss of nesting habitats due to human development and human activity such as coastal lighting that disorients hatchlings, making them unable to find the sea.

KEMP'S RIDLEY TURTLE

kemps ridley A kemp's ridley turtle on a beach. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region/Flickr CC BY 2.0)

Kemp's ridley is one of the rarest and most endangered sea turtle species due to habitat loss, pollution, poaching, and entanglements with fishing nets.

GREEN SEA TURTLE

green sea turtle A green sea turtle swimming over coral reefs. (Brocken Inaglory/Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0)

The green sea turtle can be found in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and the species is listed as endangered by the IUCN. While they are protected in many countries, housing development, pollution, and clashes with fishing equipment remain major threats.

PACIFIC AND ATLANTIC LEATHERBACK TURTLES

pacific leatherback A female digging eggs in the sand.(U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region/AlbertHerring/Wikipedia Public Domain)

The leatherback is the largest sea turtle species, and they are named for their unique shell, which is leathery, unlike the hard shells found on other turtles. Globally, they are listed as vulnerable but some populations are considered critically endangered.

HERE'S HOW YOU CAN HELP SEA TURTLES

Ocean pollution contributes to declining sea turtle populations, according to the Government of Canada.

Here are some ways you can help make the ocean a little bit safer for them:

  • Reduce your use of single-use plastics
  • Recycle whenever possible
  • Dispose of garbage in proper trash containers
  • Participate in a coastal clean-up

You can find more tips here.

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