All seven sea turtle species are endangered, their numbers hugely diminished as a consequence of bycatch, habitat loss and in some instances exploitation for food. Many of the traditional nesting beaches of sea turtles have been lost to, or suffer serious disturbance as a result of, holiday developments. Turtles frequently swallow fish hooks which can lead to fatal internal damage, and many also swallow plastic bags mistaking them for jellyfish and this may also prove fatal.
What SEA LIFE Can Do
Through educational talks and exhibits linked to sea turtles in some of our displays SEA LIFE is raising awareness of turtle conservation. SEA LIFE has provided long term homes for seriously disabled loggerhead and green sea turtles from the Mediterranean and Florida. Additionally, SEA LIFE has successfully rescued and rehabilitated five loggerhead turtles and one rare Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle.
What YOU Can Do
- Recycle plastic bags.
- While vacationing, do not disturb beaches where sea turtles are known to nest, or leave anything behind which could pose a threat to nesting adult females or their emerging hatchlings.
On the day Amelio arrived at the aquarium, he was so small that he was delivered in a cool whip container! He was one of only 2 turtles that hatched in his clutch on a beach in Fort Macon State Park, North Carolina, in September of 1997.
Unfortunately, something went wrong in Amelio’s nest, and only two of the eggs hatched in his entire clutch, and both were born with significant physical deformities. Amelio’s sister was born with 2 heads, and did not live more than a couple days, while Amelio was born with a bent tail, and a runted flipper, that would limit how well he could swim. Because of the significant challenges he was born with, Amelio was selected for captivity, as a way to better his chances of survival.
Amelio is now 15-years-old, and growing rapidly! Had Amelio been in the wild all of these years, his chance of survival would have been microscopic. At age 15, it appears that Amelio will live a full life inside SEA LIFE Minnesota’s Atlantis exhibit!