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Sea turtles - facing trouble on land and sea

Turtles have a fight on their hands right from the start. The nestlings have to dig their way out of the nests and then make the perilous journey to the sea.

Coastal development for hotels and houses means there are lots of lights inland. These can confuse the young turtles and they can head inland towards them. They also face predators such as birds and a variety of other animals.

Adult turtles also have a hard time. They face many threats while they are in the sea. Unfortunately, they face even more when they come ashore to lay their eggs. This makes them vulnerable to a far wider range of threats than many other animals and plants.

Plastic rubbish is a major problem. Turtles eat it, mistaking it for jellyfish. It often ends up killing them.

Those are just some of the threats they face in the sea. There are still more when they try and come up the beach to lay their eggs.

Beaches have sand put on them to replace any washed away by the sea. This can lead to ledges forming, which turtles cannot climb.

There is one thing everyone can do to help - always get rid of your rubbish properly, not just on holiday but also at home. A lot of plastic from our cities finds its way by river to the sea. Your rubbish can affect turtles around the coast of Wales too. There have been sightings of leatherback turtles in the Irish Sea and the Bristol Channel not far from Swansea.

Article Date: 25 July 2007

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