Environmentalists: habitat protection needed for loggerhead sea turtles

02/08/13 Olivia Kabat
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Conservation groups have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service for not providing Loggerhead sea turtle habitat protection. Loggerhead turtles are currently listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in the state of Florida and they continue to face many threats.

The habitat for this species is disappearing and Amanda Keledjian, a marine scientist at Oceana says healthy beaches are a vital need for nesting Loggerheads.

“We filed this lawsuit in hopes that the government would quicken their process. They’ve missed their deadline by more than a year. We know that they have been working diligently on this it’s just a very complicated process so by the middle of 2013 they’ll have a proposal in place that the public can then access and comment on whether the proposed areas that they designate are going to be sufficient.”

Keledjian says protecting habitat for the Loggerheads will allow them a chance to recover and ensure the survival of future generations.

“There's thousands of loggerheads that are captured in fishing gear every year. Not to mention the threats that they face from coastal development and climate change. They're losing a lot of their nesting habitat.”

According to the Center of Biological Diversity, Florida beaches host the biggest nesting population of Loggerheads in the U.S. Keledjian says it's important for beach goers to avoid any marked turtle nests they see. If people see an unmarked nest they should report it to a lifeguard to then be marked, monitored, and protected.

“Nesting areas are essential for sea turtles to have babies. So they have to lay their eggs on the beach and if they don't have room to do that then they'll continue to try because they always return to the beach where they were born themselves. They can't find other beaches so if they don't have any space to lay their eggs will get washed away by the water or they'll be crushed by human trampling.”

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