Threats to sea turtles
Foxes are a serious threat to sea turtles on the Sunshine Coast
Other threats to sea turtles
The IUCN's Marine Turtle Specialist Group recently identified what it considered the major categories of threats facing sea turtles globally:
- Legal and illegal consumption/collection of turtle meat, eggs and shells.
- Incidental capture and habitat destruction associated with the commercial fishing industries, especially prawn trawling, longline fishing and gill netting.
- Coastal development resulting in the destruction of nesting habitat and degradation of near-shore waters.
- Marine pollution generated from human land and marine activities. Ingestion of gross pollutants (e.g plastics, fishing line) can result in choking and blockage of the intestinal system. Exposure to petroleum by-products and toxic chemicals weaken turtle immune systems and increase the incidence of disease.
- Global climate change may impact on natural sex ratios of hatchlings, increase the frequency of extreme weather events and disease outbreaks and result in the loss of nesting beaches and vital marine habitat.
The above list of threats is not definitive and they are not necessarily of equal relevance to all sea turtle populations at all locations. The severity of the above impacts varies between species and their life stages and their location in the world. For example, on Sunshine Coast beaches foxes present a major threat to sea turtles at the egg and hatchling stages.