EFA: Etsy For Animals Etsy For Animals: Looking at Climate Change: SEA TURTLES

Etsy for Animals (EFA) aka Artists Helping Animals,

is a team of independent artists, craftspeople,

vintage sellers and craft suppliers on Etsy.com

who are dedicated to providing charitable relief to animals

by donating a portion of the profits from their shops

to an animal charity of their choosing,

and/or to EFA's featured Charity of the Month.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Looking at Climate Change: SEA TURTLES

Written by Heather Windmiller

Climate change due to global warming and climate disasters such as the Gulf Oil Spill are two catastrophies which imperil the lives of our sea turtles.

In an article titled, Wildlife and Offshore Drilling: The 2010 Gulf of Mexico Disaster: Sea Turtles, Defenders of Wildlife states: "The waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Florida’s Atlantic coast are home to five species of sea turtles: green, hawksbill, leatherback, loggerhead and Kemp’s ridley. All are listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The oil gushing from BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig poses several additional threats to the already precarious existence of these rare creatures."

Beautiful Kemp's Ridley sea turtle
USFWS National Digital Library 

They further state what the impact of oil is on sea turtles: "Sea turtles are vulnerable to oil exposure at all life stages and through several routes of exposure: contact with skin, ingestion and inhalation of vapors. The exact impact will also vary with the type of petroleum product involved, and by how long it has been in the environment."

Defenders of Wildlife explains more specifically how the oil effects the turtles at certain stages of development: "Oil poured directly on eggs can kill or maim developing turtles, probably because the oil prevents vital oxygen from entering the eggs."

Hatchlings must crawl from the nest to the water potentially crossing a toxic oil zone: "Because they are small, they are more easily overwhelmed by any toxic substance. They are also more likely to choke on clumps of oil and tar, or have their mouths or stomachs blocked... Both sudden exposure to large amounts of oil and longterm exposure to small quantities of oil harm turtles internally and externally."

Beautiful Kemp's Ridley hatchling sea turtle
USFWS National Digital Library

Sea turtles of all ages have trouble distinguishing oil tar balls from food. If oil is ingested internally, it will effect juveniles and adults by decreasing red blood cells, increasing white blood cells, causes changes in liver enzymes, and can shut down the glands that rid the turtle of excess salt.

"Impacts of oil spills combined with climate change and other oil in the water is not the only problem for sea turtles. The burning of oil and other fossil fuels is a leading contributor to climate change."

"Climate change poses a unique threat to sea turtles, since the temperature at which their eggs incubate determines the sex of the turtle. As global temperatures continue to rise, sea turtles could be faced with the reality of only females being born in clutches that are laid in sand with temperatures over 88.6 degrees F. Sea level rise and storm surge could also destroy sea turtle nesting beaches."

Green Sea Turtle
USFWS National Digital Library 

"Beaches are already being lost to erosion caused by development, dredging and chaneling projects. Furthermore, efforts to protect seaside buildings and other structures from sea level rise—particularly beach armoring, shoreline hardening and beach renourishment projects— result in the loss of nesting beaches. Sea turtles also suffer in red tide events, outbreaks of toxic algae that are on the rise due to warming waters. Strandings of sea turtles increase during red tides as the turtles are poisoned by toxins produced by the algae."

Read more about the specific effects of climate change and oil on sea turtles and what concerned citizens can do to help by clicking HERE.

Oil slick comes ashore
USFWS National Digital Library 

"Reasons for Hope: Sea turtles are fortunately one of the better protected animals under various conservation laws. All sea turtles are included in Appendix I of CITES. Six out of seven sea turtle species are protected by the Endangered Species Act."

Defenders of Wildlife is urging strong mandates on the government to prevent future oil disasters and states: "Although we are encouraged by the White House announcement that no new areas will be opened up to drilling until this spill has been fully investigated, Shell has announced plans to move forward with drilling in the Arctic, an area just as ecologically fragile as the Gulf, and where cleanup technology doesn’t even exist" said Jamie Rappaport Clark, executive vice president of Defenders of Wildlife and former director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

"It is time for President Obama to reinstate the moratorium on all drilling off of U.S. shores, ensuring that we can deal with the situation at hand without opening another part of our country up to similar disaster. Hopefully this catastrophe will be a wake-up call for Congress to pass comprehensive climate change legislation that moves us beyond drilling along our fragile coastline and towards a cleaner greener energy future."

Submerged Oil
USFWS National Digital Library 

In a "Defenders Magazine" article, summer 2010, titled Defenders in Action: Defenders Responds to Offshore Oil Disaster, Jamie Rappaport Clark states: "The worst thing about this is that it all could have been avoided. This is not a natural phenomenon caused by Mother Nature. This is caused by people. Something has got to change.”

In July of 2010, Defenders of Wildlife posted information about Obama in an article titled, Obama administration holds threats to America's coasts at bay, issues new offshore oil and gas drilling moratorium. The following is a statement from Rodger Schlickeisen, president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife: “Today’s action by the administration makes clear that America’s waters and coastlines are too valuable to invite another drilling disaster even before we have stopped the gush of oil from BP’s Deepwater Horizon well. This new moratorium is a welcome and courageous step by the administration, one that demonstrates its commitment to reining in a reckless drilling industry and helping to assure that a tragedy such as the continuing one in the Gulf will not happen again.”

Green Sea Turtle
USFWS National Digital Library 


Protect Wildlife Threatened by Climate Change! 

Save Sea Turtles from Big Oil's Double-Barreled Thread:

to learn more about what Defenders
is doing to respond to the oil disaster
and what else you can do to help.

I'm a Defender of Wildlife - Are You? - Defenders.org

Team EFA, also known as Artists Helping Animals, is supporting Defenders of Wildlife this month through our cotm program & petition signing !
To read more blog articles 
on Defenders of Wildlife

see September 1 post HERE
and September 2 post HERE


  1. Thanks so much! Hope everyone signs the petition and we can change our environment for the better!!!!

  2. What a wonderful article, so important, I love Sea Turtles, they are such magical creatures and deserve respect and protection, hoping things get better in the Gulf soon! Defenders is doing a great job helping!

  3. THANKS so much Heather for spearheading this crucial article...
    I hope all the readers will take the time to PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION !

  4. This was an excellent article. What bothers me most about the spill is the length of time the animals suffer and the long term negative impact on their health.

    Going to sign the petition immediately :>)

  5. Great article, Heather. The oiled beaches and submerged oil are awful. So many good bits of info-thanks.


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