NWF Supports Stronger Endangered Species Listing for Loggerheads

Loggerhead sea turtles struggle to survive oil spill, habitat loss

08-17-2010 // Aislinn Maestas

Last week, National Wildlife Federation reported that wildlife impacts have gotten significantly worse since the BP oil gusher was capped, especially for sea turtles. According to NWF’s Doug Inkley, the number of sea turtles found stranded on Gulf beaches this year is six times the number reported in previous years.

Yet, even before the BP oil spill disaster, sea turtles in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico were at risk from loss of nesting habitat, degradation of their marine habitats, and entanglement in fishing gear.

“Sea turtles have been struggling for survival for decades,” said NWF’s Doug Inkley. “Now, since the oil spill, we have seen a bad situation get worse.”

The good news is that one species, loggerhead sea turtles, could soon receive stronger protections under the Endangered Species Act. The federal government recently proposed changing the status of the Northwestern loggerhead sea turtle from “threatened” to “endangered” after reviewing the state of the species.

The change in status would provide stronger protections and conservation resources for loggerhead sea turtles.

Typically spanning over 3 feet and weighing more than 250 pounds, loggerhead turtles are the world's largest hard-shelled turtle. These magnificent creatures spend most of their lives at sea, with females coming ashore only briefly during the summer to lay their eggs.

“Loggerheads are truly tremendous animals,” said Inkley. “It would be an injustice to future generations to sit by and watch these animals continue to decline.”

You can join National Wildlife Federation in its fight to protect the loggerhead sea turtle by sending a message the National Marine Fisheries Service in support of reclassifying the species as endangered.

Related Resources
  • Protecting Sea Turtles

    National Wildlife Federation has partnered with the Sea Turtle Conservancy to support their work protecting sea turtles from the BP oil spill disaster. Learn more about the partnership and watch a video of a turtle being tagged for monitoring and released here.

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