Turtles are coming back!

With all the bad news about the extinction of species here is one piece of good news; turtles are bouncing back after historical declines. Scientists have studied this through experiments and even small population of turtles are coming back.

And yet, not all of them. The leatherbacks in the Eastern and Western Pacific are still declining. In fact, six of the seven species are either vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered. It seems that the bounce back is due to strong efforts since the 1950’s as beaches were protected and fishing was regulated. Establishing marine areas as well helped.

It is only on a longterm basis that scientists can say if a species is bouncing back. For turtles, they have to be followed for long periods of time, 10 to 30 years. Results from studies show that even small population of turtles can return with adequate protection. In Hawaii, green sea turtles increased their nest numbers from 200 in 1973 to 2000 in 2012. This species is now considered to be of least concern for its survival.

More research will be needed as there are still too many unknowns, such as what are the male to female ratios. Shrinking maritime protected areas as is projected in Australia will not help in collecting data on flatback turtles in the area. In other words, scientists are expressing cautious optimism for the survival of turtles.



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