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Olive Ridley Turtle

Overview

  • Status
    Vulnerable
  • Scientific Name
    Lepidochelys olivacea
  • Weight
    75-110 pounds
  • Length
    24-28 inches
  • Habitats
    Oceans

The name for this sea turtle is tied to the color of its shell—an olive green hue. They are the smallest of the sea turtles and currently the most abundant. Their vulnerable status comes from the fact that they nest in a very small number of places, and therefore any disturbance to even one nest beach could have huge repercussions on the entire population.

How Long Do Sea Turtles Live? And Other Sea Turtle Facts

Sea turtles have roamed the Earth’s oceans for the last 100 million years. Here’s a look at some common questions about the species.

sea turtle swimming

Why They Matter

  • Sea turtles are a fundamental link in marine ecosystems and help maintain the health of coral reefs and sea grass beds. Olive ridley turtles also provide a type of refuge for many seabirds in the Eastern Pacific, allowing them to perch on their shells as the turtles surface to bask in the sun.

Threats

  • Extinction Risk Vulnerable
    1. EX
      Extinct

      No reasonable doubt that the last individual has died

    2. EW
      Extinct in the Wild

      Known only to survive in cultivation, in captivity or as a naturalised population

    3. CR
      Critically Endangered

      Facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the Wild

    4. EN
      Endangered

      Facing a high risk of extinction in the Wild

    5. VU
      Vulnerable

      Facing a high risk of extinction in the Wild

    6. NT
      Near Threatened

      Likely to qualify for a threatened category in the near future

    7. LC
      Least Concern

      Does not qualify for Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable, or Near Threatened

Olive Ridley Turtle

All stages of a sea turtle’s life are affected by environmental conditions such as temperature—even the sex of offspring. The warmer the nest beach conditions, the more female hatchlings that emerge from the eggs. Unusually warm temperatures caused by climate change could be disrupting normal sex ratios, resulting in fewer male baby turtles. Warmer sea surface temperatures can also lead to the loss of important foraging grounds for marine turtles, while increasingly severe storms and sea level rise can destroy critical nesting beaches and damage nests.

What WWF Is Doing

Turtle

Eliminating Bycatch

WWF aims to reduce turtle bycatch by working with fisheries to switch to more turtle-friendly fishing hooks (“circle” hooks) and advocates for the use of devices that exclude turtles from nets. We run an international competition called Smart Gear to attract creative new ways to solve bycatch problems and to advance those ideas. Winning devices have been designed to minimize the bycatch of turtles on tuna longlines and help turtles avoid gillnets. We work with fishermen to help them save turtles caught in fishing gear. We also use satellite devices to track turtle movements to help prevent future interactions between fisheries and turtles.

Hook

Protecting Sea Turtle Habitat

WWF works around the world to establish marine protected areas (MPA) to ensure sea turtles have a safe place to nest, feed and migrate freely. We encourage governments to strengthen legislation and provide funding for sea turtle protection. WWF also supports the monitoring and patrolling  of turtle nests in many parts of the world to equip local turtle conservationists. This often leads to ecotourism opportunities and offers alternative livelihoods.

Minimizing Climate Change Impacts

Olive Ridley Turtle Research

Here a researcher monitors the temperature of olive ridley sea turtle nests.

WWF studies how climate change affects sea turtles and works to find the best ways to reduce their vulnerability to changing environmental conditions. We work around the world with communities to  monitor and protect nesting beaches which helps to build resilience to the future impacts of climate change. In the Eastern Pacific we work to raise awareness on the threat of sea level rise on nest sites  and the importance of shade for nests.

Experts

Related Species

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