STRP’s Wences Magun featured in PNG’s Post Courier

Community Messages  & Key Facts on Sea Turtles

  • Sea Turtles (Chelonioidea) are reptiles found in all the world’s oceans except the Arctic Ocean.
  • Sea Turtles play key roles in the two ecosystems that are critical to them as well as to humans – 1) the oceans and 2) beaches/dumes
  • They can live up to 189 years
  • If sea turtles were to become extinct, the negative impact on beaches and the oceans would potentially be significant
  • Some species travel between oceans like the Loggerhead and Leatherback turtles.
  • There are 7 types of sea turtles: 1) KEMP’S RIDLEY, 2) FLATBACK, 3) GREEN, 4) OLIVE RIDLEY, 5) LOGGERHEAD, 6) HAWKSBILL AND 7) LEATHERBACK.
  • All but the Leatherback are in the family of Chelonioidea;
  • Leatherbacks belongs to the family of Dermochelyidae and is only member
  • They are highly sensitive to the Earth’s magnetic field and use it to navigate
  • Papua New Guinea is the last remaining nesting site for the endangered Pacific Leatherback Turtles.
  • Scientists predict that Pacific Leatherbacks Turtles could be extinct in 20 years time, at the current harvest rate (by-catch)
  • Based on community testimony we know that the population has decreased since the 1990s
  • Tri-national MOU signed between PNG, Solomon Islands and Indonesia in August 2006 to protect Leatherback Turtles
  • Travel at the distance of 12,774 miles 20,558 km across the Pacific the longest recorded migration of any sea vertebrates
  • Less than 5,000 nesting leatherbacks exist in the Pacific Ocean today and that is a 95 percent drop from 1980
  • They are the deepest diving sea turtles on earth
  • They weigh more than 92 bags of 10kg rice or 916 kilograms
  • They can reach the size of a cab or 270 cm (2.7 meters)
  • Leatherbacks have been in existence for more than 100 million years
  • Marine Debris is affecting reproduction and nesting behaviors (plastic waste is lethal to leatherbacks, plastic bags) US dumping debris in our ocean is effecting our resources
  • Sea-bed mining and dumping of terrestrial slurry is potentially harmful to the habitat and migratory routes (plumes of mining may harm everything in the ocean and humans)
  • Another threat is poaching
  • Unintentional capture and drowning by commercial fishing boats (especially shrimp trawlers)
  • Commercial developments
  • Potential for climate change
  • Fisheries/overfishing using longline and gillnets
  • Pollution
  • Rising sea-levels are eroding the nesting sites and diverting the turtles from traditional sites and moving them to other sites

Created by Wenceslaus Magun of P.O. Box 1312, Port Moresby NCD, PNG. PH: 719 59665/323 2632
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