It’s World Turtle Day! How are you celebrating?

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Feature story - May 23, 2013
Each year, 23 May marks World Turtle Day. And what better excuse (as if you ever needed one!) to celebrate the majesty of our leathery flippered friends?

© fugm10 (flickr)

Here at Greenpeace we're BIG fans of these graceful creatures. So we’re sharing some of our favourite photos and facts to mark the day.

Turtles are ancient...

A Hawksbill turtle.Apo Island is acknowledged internationally as a model community managed marine reserve

© Greenpeace / Daniel M Ocampo

In fact, they’ve existed since before the time of the dinosaurs, with many species remaining virtually unchanged for millions of years.

...but you’d never be able to tell

© Mike Roberts

It’s pretty much impossible to determine a sea turtle’s age by appearance. It is thought that some can live to exceed 100 years.

They don’t have teeth

Hawksbill Turtles in Elphinstone Reef, near Marsa Alam.  Elphinston Reef is a spectacular reef and one of the most beautiful sites in the region. Crystal clear waters and unique coral reefs have made the Red Sea one of the world's prime diving destinations. Yet these reefs are threatened by problems such as overfishing, pollution and uncontrolled coastal development. Egypt's Red Sea coast has become a sprawling mass of concrete hotels and apartment blocks. In a matter of twenty years, the area has undergone large-scale development driven by the tourist dollar.

© Greenpeace / Marco Care

But their powerful jaws and beak enable them to feed on various types of food.

Nor do they have ears

An Olive Ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) swims in the open blue ocean of the Pacific. Greenpeace is touring the Pacific, promoting marine reserves and conservation measures to protect fish stocks and all marine life.

© Paul Hilton / Greenpeace

Well not an outer ear anyway. However they can detect certain types of sounds. Some species have an ‘inner ear’.

Sea turtles are in danger (and they’re not happy about it)


We simply can’t imagine a world without turtles -- which is why it breaks our hearts that six of the world’s seven species of sea turtles are listed as either threatened or endangered.

According to Pawikan Conservation Center in the Philippines, marine turtles are now highly threatened for extinction-- mostly threats by human activities such as poaching, egg gathering, slaughter, illegal fishing and pollution.

But you can help protect them


Leatherback Turtle's Eggs in West Papua © Paul Hilton / Greenpeace


Let’s celebrate all the joy and wonders of these majestic creatures around the world! You can join in by doing these four simple things today:

  • Tweeting about World Turtle Day using #TurtleDay
  • Share your favorite turtle pics with us in the comments below
  • Visit to save the homes of turtles and our beautiful Great Barrier Reef.
  • Become a storyteller of the seas through videos or photos

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