World Turtle Day

World Turtle Day Quick Facts - AU

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2024 Date23 May 2024
2025 Date23 May 2025

World Turtle Day

World Turtle Day in

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World Turtle Day History

World Turtle Day is an annual observance aimed at raising awareness and promoting the protection of turtles and tortoises, as well as their habitats worldwide. As one of the oldest creatures on Earth, turtles play a vital role in ecosystems and are considered cultural symbols in various indigenous communities. In Australia, this observance carries special significance as it highlights the importance of conserving the unique marine life inhabiting the region.

Established in 2000 by the American Tortoise Rescue, World Turtle Day has since grown into a global movement, bringing together environmentalists, animal enthusiasts, and governments to address the conservation of these vulnerable species. For Australians, protecting the native turtle population, including the Eastern Snake-necked Turtle and the Green Sea Turtle, is of great importance. These animals are not only critical to maintaining ecological balance but are also an integral part of indigenous Australian culture, where they are known as Yowarl, representing the Dreaming Creation story of life's origin.

World Turtle Day is observed on the 23rd of May each year, with various activities and events designed to educate and inspire action towards the protection of turtles and their environments. From beach clean-ups to educational workshops, Australians join together on this day to celebrate and advocate for the conservation of turtles and their habitats, ensuring their continued existence for generations to come.

World Turtle Day facts

  • Female turtles often return to the same beaches where they were born to lay their eggs.
  • All tortoises are turtles, but not all turtles are tortoises. Tortoises are exclusively land animals.
  • The leatherback turtle holds the record for the longest migration among reptile. These turtles travel from nesting sites in the Pacific to feeding areas in the Atlantic.
  • The Mary River turtle (Elusor macrurus) is one of Australia's most unique turtles, as the algae growing on its head creates a "green mohawk" appearance. This turtle is found exclusively in the Mary River in Queensland and is listed as an endangered species.
  • Some of the world's most important nesting beaches for marine turtles can be found in Australia, including Raine Island and Mon Repos.

Top things to do in Australia for World Turtle Day

  • Volunteer to help save turtles. Here's a list of different programs you can take part in.
  • Watch this short animated video detailing the challenges infant sea turtles go through.
  • Watch a documentary or show about the turtles of Australia. Here are our top picks:
    1. Australia's Turtle Miracle: The Secrets of a Nesting Ground (2018) - A National Geographic documentary that takes you to the world's largest green turtle nesting site at Raine Island, on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, showcasing the incredible survival instincts of these ancient creatures.
    2. Blue Planet II: Episode 6 - Coasts (2017) - This episode includes segments on the nesting and hatching of sea turtles on the beaches of Australia's Raine Island, home to the world's largest population of green turtles.
    3. Turtle: The Incredible Journey (2011) - This documentary film follows the life and migration of a loggerhead turtle from the Australian Great Barrier Reef, showcasing the incredible journey these animals take throughout their lives.
  • Volunteer or donate to turtle conservation organizations, such as the Australian Seabird Rescue, Australian Marine Conservation Society, or the Sea Turtle Foundation to celebrate World Turtle Day

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