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It's up to us all to save sea turtles from extinction. Donate online to CI today, and help turn the tide.

For more information about donating to sea turtle conservation at CI, .

Photo: © Mike Parry/Minden Pictures

The 110-million-year-old sea turtle is a bellwether of marine ecosystem health. Where there are healthy wild populations of sea turtles there are healthy oceans sustaining them. Unfortunately, sea turtles today are highly threatened, and their numbers are rapidly diminishing. Their plight is evidence of the greater devastation of ocean biodiversity over the past century.

The same hazards that threaten sea turtles imperil all ocean wildlife. Longline fishing – which claims an estimated 40,000 sea turtles annually – shrimp trawling, coastal development, ocean pollution, global warming, and hunting have caused an unprecedented decline in sea turtle populations. Whales, dolphins, seals, sharks, albatross, and other seabirds – as well as entire coral reef, sea grass, and ocean floor ecosystems – are subject to many of the same dangers. As such, Conservation International (CI) considers the sea turtle to be an ambassador of the seas and a compelling public icon of marine conservation.

Through its Sea Turtle Flagship Program, CI provides critical support to the World Conservation Union Species Survival Commission (IUCN-SSC) Marine Turtle Specialist Group (MTSG). With nearly 300 members from more than 80 countries, it is the largest volunteer network of sea turtle specialists in the world. The MTSG is the preeminent global authority on sea turtle conservation and is responsible for regularly assessing the global status of the seven species of sea turtle. Together with CI, the group develops and supports strategies, sets priorities, and provides tools to promote and guide the conservation of marine turtles, their ecological roles, and their habitats.

In partnership with Duke University's Marine Geospatial Ecology Laboratory and the International Sea Turtle Society, CI and the MTSG also have formed what is known as the "SWoT" team – short for "State of the World's Sea Turtles." This network of partners is dedicated to annually describing the status of sea turtles, the threats they face, and the wide range of efforts to conserve them. Published in April 2006, the inaugural SWoT Report represents the first official presentation of global data on leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) sea turtles.

Resources and Links
CI Wide
CABS: www.biodiversityscience.org
Priority Areas: Key Marine Regions

On The Web
The State of the World's Sea Turtles (SWoT)
IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group
IUCN Species Survival Commission
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Publications & Downloads
Report: The State of the World's Sea Turtles (SWoT) (PDF–3.2mb)
Poster: Ten Most Threatened Sea Turtles in the World (PDF–705kb)


© Nicolas J. Pilcher
Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) sea turtles are prized for their beautiful shells and exploited for use in jewelry making.

© Michael Jensen
Olive Ridleys (Lepidochelys olivacea) come ashore simultaneously by the hundreds and thousands to nest – a phenomena known as arribadas.

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Photo credits for banner images: (Greater Flamingos © Tui De Roy/Minden Pictures); (Diagonal-banded Sweetlips © Fred Bavendam/Minden Pictures);
(Madagascar Aloe © Frans Lanting/Minden Pictures); (Hippo © Frans Lanting/Minden Pictures); (Hummingbird © Pete Oxford); (Malagasy Frog © Piotr Naskrecki/CI)