Sea Turtles in Captivity

There are quite a few sea turtles in captivity around the world. Some of them are there due to being injured so they couldn’t reasonably survive in the wild. Others are there for observation as well as to help them increase the numbers for their species. Sea turtles seem to do extremely well in captivity and they don’t seem to have too much stress involved with adjusting to the new environment.

There are many programs out there involving sea turtles in captivity that have been established by the United States government. In 1991 they introduced the Archie Carr National Refuge in Florida. This area includes more than 20 miles of land for the sea turtles to nest and deposit their eggs in.

In both Nicaragua and Costa Rica, there are efforts to help protect the sea turtles by offering a tourist attraction. A National Park area has been designated and approximately 15,000 people go there annually to observe these sea turtles. There are many other tourist attractions including Sea World and zoos around the world have sea turtles as part of their exhibits.

Other efforts involve keeping the adult sea turtles in captivity. This way they can mate and lay their eggs. Then those younglings are taken to natural wild environments of sea turtles and released into the water. This means that approximately 80% of what hatches get to the water. In the wild, it is only approximately 10% that do so such efforts can really help to increase the population.

Conservation of sea turtles.

Sea turtle at aquarium.

However, not all females will deposit eggs when they are in captivity. They get to choose if they mate with a male. Even when several males are offered it can be several years before they decide to take part in mating. Some of them never do for the duration of time that they are in captivity.

The idea of sea turtles in captivity is one that is highly debated. On one hand you have those that advocate for them to be returned to their natural environment. They don’t think it is right for them to be confined for decades. Since they won’t be able to migrate or to choose their of types of food then they feel the sea turtles are existing without really being happy.

Research has shown some negative effects of sea turtles that live in captivity. Many of them never reach their proper size. It is believed this is due to the area they are kept in not being large enough to allow them to do so. Some of them suffer from disease and bacteria that form in their new environment. This can weaken their immune systems and even kill them if the problem can’t be identified and resolved right away. The biggest concerns are developing skin and eye infections while in captivity.

However, others feel that keeping some sea turtles in captivity is the right choice. For example those with injuries that would prevent them from being able to successfully find enough food in the wild. Many are used for observation which has helped complete various types of research relating to sea turtles. They can also protect the eggs of these sea turtles so that they aren’t destroyed by humans or other predators. As a result they can help to increase the population of sea turtles.

As a result of such claims for the release of sea turtles in captivity, more is being done to ensure they have a safe environment that is large enough for them to live in. More is being done to follow the normal eating habits of sea turtles as well so they don’t end up under weight or weighing more than they would in the wild.