It’s World Turtle Day

Thursday May 23, 2019 Written by Published in Local
‘PRAYING TURTLE’ photo taken in Aitutaki by water sports enthusiast Charlotte Piho. 19052209 ‘PRAYING TURTLE’ photo taken in Aitutaki by water sports enthusiast Charlotte Piho. 19052209

Today is World Turtle Day – an annual celebration that has been taking place since 2000. 

 

Originally founded by American organisation Tortoise Rescue, it is internationally recognised as a day to advocate for the protection of all species of turtles, tortoise and their habitats.

The Cook Islands is home to a number of endangered sea turtles. The Green Turtle, the Hawksbill Turtle and the Loggerhead Turtle which are the only sea turtle species recorded to have nested in the Cook Islands according to the Cook Islands biodiversity database. It also states that the Green Turtle is rare in the southern Group, except on Palmerston where it is common.

The database said: “Green Turtles spend their adult lives feeding on seagrasses and seaweeds in Melanesia. Every few years the females migrate back to the beach on which they were hatched to lay their own eggs. Most breed in Melanesia, but a few migrate further eastward to their birth beaches in Polynesia - Tonga, Samoa, Cook Islands and French Polynesia.”

The Hawksbill Turtle, which is critically endangered, is still seen in our waters to this day.

The purpose of World Turtle Day is to educate people about turtles and what they can do to protect the species.

It is also a celebration and an appreciation of the pleasure that these magnificent reptiles bring to people.

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