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sea turtles

How can you stop wildlife trafficking?

WildAid and Josh Duhamel Urge U.S. Travelers Not to Buy Endangered Wildlife Products

Hollywood actor Josh Duhamel is starring in a new WildAid awareness campaign releasing on World Sea Turtle Day. Trade in illicit products made from wildlife threatens many species worldwide. Whether ivory carvings and trinkets, coral jewelry or tortoiseshell accessories, travelers buying these products often unknowingly contribute to the illegal killing of animals.

The campaign, a joint effort of WildAid, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance, will appear on broadcast television stations nationwide, as well as in major international transit hubs like airports and cruise ship terminals in collaboration with the travel and tourism industries.

Protecting Sea Turtles in Nicaragua

Nesting olive-ridley sea turtles

Nicaragua’s stunning beaches are more than tourist attractions. The sandy bluffs along the coral corridor provide a refuge for thousands of nesting hawksbill, olive-ridley, leatherback and green sea turtles. In fact, Nicaragua’s La Flor Wildlife Refuge hosts more than 100,000 olive-ridley nests each year.

WildAid completed an enforcement assessment last year of three marine protected areas (MPAs) in Nicaragua’s coral corridor to address turtle poaching and other threats to the region’s biodiversity.

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Why is Plastic Pollution a Problem in Our Oceans?

A sea turtle tangled up in various plastics (Machalilla National Park)

A sea turtle spots a plastic bag floating among the waves. To him, it looks like a jellyfish, its general shape and consistency swaying and catching the light in just the right way. He swims toward it and ingests the bag in one gulp, satisfying his hunger, and then goes on his away. In actuality, that plastic bag lines his gut, causing digestive blockages and the sea turtle’s eventual death from starvation.

This story is all too common in the marine environment. In fact, a study estimated that more than half the world’s sea turtles and a staggering 90% of sea birds had ingested some form of plastic. Earlier this year, 13 sperm whales washed up in Germany and their necropsies revealed stomachs full of plastic waste including a 43-foot-long shrimp fishing net, a plastic car engine cover and a plastic bucket. Plastic and other debris, including discarded fishing lines and nets (also called “ghost nets”), are not just ingested, but also account for thousands of casualties.  Sharks, whales and mantas that get tangled up in nets either suffer life-threatening injuries from their attempts to escape or they simply remain trapped eventually drowning to death.

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Casquita’s Journey: Rescuing an Injured Sea Turtle in Ecuador

Machalilla wildlife hospital volunteers oversee the treatment of an injured sea turtle

This week marked the beginning of a fresh start for Casquita, an Olive Ridley sea turtle in Ecuador. Accompanied by children from the local community, Casquita triumphantly made her way back to the sea after recovering from injuries inflicted by a boat propeller and malnutrition.

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