Green Turtle


Green turtle in North Sulawesi, Indonesia 
© Adam Minu
Green turtle in North Sulawesi, Indonesia
© Adam Minu
Marine turtles (Cheloniidae / Dermochelyidae families) fulfill important roles in marine ecosystems as they help to maintain seagrass beds and make them more productive. Without grazing by green turtles, seagrass blades grow tall and get choked by sediments that obscure the light and promote disease.

Additionally, seagrass consumed by green turtles is quickly digested and becomes available as recycled nutrients to the many species of plants and animals that live in the seagrass ecosystem.

Seagrass beds also function as nurseries for species of invertebrates and fish, many of which are of considerable value to commercial fisheries and therefore important to human food security.

Threats & Action

© WWF-Hong Kong
Green Turtle - Threats & Action
© WWF-Hong Kong
Widely distributed in tropical and subtropical waters, the Green Turtle is under threat due to numerous factors, from over-harvesting of both eggs and adults to accidental deaths in nets and long-lines of fishing fleets. The Mediterranean population is categorized as Critically Endangered in the IUCN Red List.

In some areas, there is a worryingly high number of green turtles suffering from debilitating and potentially lethal tumours. The cause of these tumours is unknown, but there is suspicion that increasing chemical pollution levels might be to blame. Green turtles are also widely harvested for meat along many tropical coasts.

WWF is working with governments to develop and enforce regional conservation agreements, such as the Inter-American Convention on the Conservation of Marine Turtles. We also work with local communities in the Indian and Pacific Oceans to ensure that traditional or subsistence extraction levels are sustainable, and where necessary to find alternative sources of income.

WWF calls for a stop of any further encroachment of the Green turtle’s nesting sites in Hong Kong. Known marine nesting sites or any newly discovered sites and surrounding waters should be fully protected from human disturbance.
Beach visitors, divers and other visitors should avoid disturbing any marine turtles in the water or at beaches identified as marine turtle nesting sites, e.g. Sham Wan on Lamma Island and Tai Long Wan to encourage turtles to come back to Hong Kong to nest. Very few nestings have been reported since 2005.

The Green turtle featured as a member of WWF-Hong Kong’s Ocean’s 10 programme, which identified several species to highlight their importance and heritage to the public.

To support WWF’s conservation work to reduce threats to species such as habitat loss and preserve our ecosystem, you may now get  your symbolic animal adoption as a meaningful and unique gift for friends and families.