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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

This week, facts about sea turtles. It’s the tenth anniversary of a conservation program that’s trying to save the endangered species.


CURWOOD: Green Sea Turtles have something to celebrate this fourth of July. It's the tenth anniversary of Hawaii's Mauna Lani turtle restoration program that breeds Honu, or Green Sea turtles, for release into the ocean. The Green Sea Turtle is one of seven marine turtle species. All are endangered and it's not hard to see why. For one thing, newly hatched turtles wait for the cover of darkness to dash for the sea. They are programmed to head for the brightest spot. In nature, that's the horizon over the ocean but with development, they head for bright lights on shore instead and never find the water. For those that do, other hazards await. The palm sized hatchlings are extremely vulnerable to predators. And then: plastic bags. In the water, plastic bags look like jelly fish, a baby sea turtle's favorite food. But, eat them and die. Between predators and pollution, only five percent of any given population are left after a couple of weeks. And then accidental capture during net fishing means death for thousands more each year. But if all does go well, sea turtles can live as long as 100 years. So, best of luck to this year's batch, who brave the elements of man and mother nature on Turtle Independence Day, July 4th. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.



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