Happy World Turtle Day!

Nearly 245 million years ago, turtles first roamed the planet. They’ve lived through countless mass extinctions, including the age of the dinosaurs. Humans are the only reason their numbers have dropped to devastating lows, with far too many species already deemed extinct.

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From the Asian turtle trade to pollution and commercial fishing bycatch, mankind has put a dent in the turtle population. But we can also do our part to save these unique reptiles that symbolize tenacity and steadfastness. If we change our ways, little by little, turtles can make a comeback.

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In fact, some of them already have due to new laws like Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) in trawling nets and “Lights Out”  on the coast during nesting season. International education initiatives have also proven invaluable.

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These inspiring shelled creatures live in every ocean and on every continent except Antarctica, giving them the largest geographic range of any animal. They also rank high in longevity and size.

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Turtles play important roles in ecosystems, too. They build homes for other creatures, eat pests, spread seeds and clean up road kill. Additionally, they are both indicator and keystone species, vital foundations in the biosphere.

How fitting, then, that these magnificent creatures get a day all to themselves. Let’s celebrate them!

Be like a turtle. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.

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