How your ad spend will help create healthier oceans:
Starting this year, our agency partners can decide how a portion of our 2024 revenue will support critical marine projects. SEE Turtles is one of four verified non-profits to benefit from our new Pinwheel sustainability partnership. In this guest Ocean Talk, wildlife conservationist and President at SEE Turtles, Brad Nahill explains why turtles are critical to the health of our oceans and coastal communities.
“Six out of seven species of sea turtles are either threatened or classified as endangered.
Healthy oceans need sea turtles. They are a “keystone species” which means they play an important part in their environment and influence other species around them. If a keystone species is removed from a habitat, the natural order can be disrupted, which impacts other wildlife and fauna.
Developed over 15 years, our project provides grant funding to local organisations. They work tirelessly, usually with small budgets to protect the beaches where turtles lay their eggs. We focus on countries where the threat to turtles is the most immediate: where people still eat turtle eggs and meat, and places with the fewest resources to confront these threats.
We were chosen to work with Pinwheel two years ago after going through their verification process. They have quickly become one of our biggest supporters. We estimate that 200,000 hatchlings have been saved from Pinwheel’s support to date, so we are really just getting started.
People want more transparency and to see concrete actions, whether it’s making a donation or purchasing a product. This is the model Pinwheel – and now Ocean Outdoor – supports.
A billion baby turtles
That’s our target. And for every US dollar that’s received, we can save 10 baby turtles.
It took us four years to save our first four million baby turtles and another five years to reach 10 million, so the numbers are going up quickly.
Overall in 2023, we managed to:
- save 4.2 million hatchlings on more than 60 beaches in 25 countries
- cleaned up thousands of pounds of plastic waste
- protected hawksbill turtles from the illegal turtle shell trade
- supported coastal communities by creating jobs.
A 0.001% chance
Hatchlings are an important food source for other species – birds, crabs, fish. As a guide it’s estimated that only one in 1,000 baby turtles will make it to adulthood.
Turtle nests are a source of nutrients for beach ecosystems. Turtles are also important for what they consume – their primary food source is jellyfish. There is now an explosion of jellyfish. in part due to reduced numbers of sea turtles around the world. This in turn has had an impact on fish populations.
Turtles also feed on seagrass beds which are healthier when they are grazed. Additionally, Hawksbill turtles eat sea sponges – up to a thousand pounds of them a year! Sea sponges compete with coral reefs for space, so the Hawksbills – the engineers of the reef – help keep them in check.
What more can we do?
Reduce the amount of single use plastic you consume. If you see plastic waste in a public place, pick it up so that it doesn’t end up in the river or the ocean. We also encourage travellers to learn about the tortoiseshell trade in the tropics. We’ve created a phone app called SEE Shell that uses AI, so if you take a photo of a necklace in, say, Costa Rica or Indonesia where these products are sold, it will tell you with a high degree of certainty if it’s real tortoiseshell or not. You should then avoid purchasing it.
Finally, go and see turtles where they are nesting and migrating. It sends a signal to local communities that these are an important animal to protect.
Why should Ocean’s partners choose to support SEE Turtles?
The thing our community doesn’t talk enough about is that protecting sea turtles is also good for people, for coastal and indigenous communities. The Billion Baby Turtles programme supports more than 150 jobs in places where there are limited opportunities to earn a living wage. We also have a programme which help communities recycle plastic beach waste, instead of burning it. When you choose to work with us, you are not only helping the ocean and all the animals that live in it, but also the coastal communities that depend on the ocean and the turtles for their livelihoods.”
To find out more visit https://www.seeturtles.org/
For further information about the four projects we’re supporting, visit our Pinwheel page.