Why are sea turtles endangered? About SOS Nicaragua and Dos Maderas Luxus

Why are sea turtles endangered? About SOS Nicaragua and Dos Maderas Luxus

Why are sea turtles endangered?

Sea turtles have been around for at least 100 million years which of course means they co-existed with the larger than life historic thunder-god species more commonly known as dinosaurs. The sea turtle lineage is as precious to the planet as oxygen is to mammals. In fact, sea turtles are one of our world’s “keystone species,” a term referring to species that have an extreme impact on the survival of their greater ecosystem in relation to their numbers. Think of the bees and the planet’s reliance on their ability to pollinate plants. Marine turtles are essential to the control of jellyfish populations as well as the propagation of our ocean’s sea meadows and coral reefs, also currently endangered. So why are sea turtles endangered? The single word answer is humans, whose expansion around the world have led to destroying the native nesting beach habitats of sea turtles. Regard it like gentrification where people move in and turtles are forced out. But also, the story of what is killing sea turtles, thus continues in an epic tale of man-made disaster non-fiction. Let’s talk about three specific terms: poaching, plastic & nets. The shells of sea turtles are often sought after for use in luxury goods such as tortoise shell glasses, combs, jewelry and other souvenirs while turtle eggs and meat remain a delicacy like in turtle soup and other recipes. Secondly, the infestation of plastic & other pollutants in the oceans fatally poisons turtles by getting into their digestive systems and causing havoc. Lastly, fishing nets are a severe contributor to the deaths of sea turtles as they often get entangled and drown, unable to surface for air.

When did sea turtles become endangered?

In terms of what sea turtles are endangered, the sad answer is that all seven species have been deemed either vulnerable, threatened or critically endangered. These include the green, hawksbill, Kemp’s ridley, leatherback, loggerhead, olive ridley and the flatback. Sea turtles were first listed as endangered back in 1970, under the newly recognized Endangered Species Conservation Act. The man responsible for bringing attention to the world’s tragic endangerment of sea turtle populations was Dr. Archie Carr. Carr was a renowned herpetologist, ecologist, conservationist and professor of Zoology. In 2000, the Sea Turtle Conservancy in Gainesville, Florida started World Sea Turtle Day which is celebrated every June 16th as a way to honor the birthday of its founder, Dr. Archie Carr who had passed away in 1987.

While conservation efforts since the 1970’s have contributed to restoring numbers of sea turtles, the danger of extinction remains ever a threat. Starkly speaking, only 1 in 1000 baby turtles ever make it to adulthood.

How many turtles are left in the world 2022?

While each species struggles with maintaining their population health in varying degrees, and while it can be tricky to devise an accurate count of an animal that spends 99% of its life in the water, estimates place the total number of all sea turtles somewhere around 6.5 million. In 2011, the number was closer to 7.5 million. Individual hawksbill turtles are likely around 57,000 – 83,000 in number where Kemp’s ridley and flatbacks are around 25,000 – 69,000 but could possibly be as low as 10,000. For some historical perspective, consider that fishing records in pre-Columbian times indicated populations closer to 91 million in the Caribbean alone.

About SOS Nicaragua

In the vernacular, SOS Nicaragua means “YOU ARE Nicaragua” and also represents the call to action by way of a “cry for help” to the individual to do more and take responsibility for their personal impact as a species on the planet. Founded in 2017, they are an environmental conservationist organization with the visionary goal of transforming the tourism economy into one that supports conservation rather than the other way around. Donation efforts pay local folks on the ground to actively protect baby turtle nesting zones.

Why Dos Maderas is committed to protecting sea turtles in the Caribbean

“We truly admire the work of folks like David Melero from SOS Nicaragua whose passion to save the endangered sea turtles corresponds with a dream to support his local community as well. Donating part of the profits from Luxus to the conservation of turtles in danger of extinction is a way to strengthen the ties with our rum’s Caribbean origin whose geography had been historically well populated by sea turtles.”

Dos Maderas translates into “Two Woods” and refers to the dual background of originating from the Caribbean as well as aging in Jerez. Promoting turtle conservation is the concerted effort at recognizing part of the heritage of its beginnings.

About Dos Maderas Luxus

In 2010, the Luxus brand of Dos Maderas rum was brought to market. The name Luxus was borrowed from a baby turtle of the same name “adopted” by the brand. It is the pinnacle of the Dos Maderas collection and contains a 10 year blend of rum sourced from Barbados and Guyana that is additionally Solera matured for 5 years in rare Williams & Humbert Don Guido PX sherry casks. At 15 years, Luxus is the oldest and most charismatic label of the Dos Maderas line and appropriate for the long lasting life of sea turtles which, similar to humans, have a lifespan ranging from 50-100 years. For every bottle sold, part of the profit is set aside to donate to SOS Nicaragua in efforts of saving baby turtle nesting habitats. Additionally, Dos Maderas further contributes funds that specifically support plastic pollution clean-up campaigns and helps to actively fund locals working to rescue endangered turtle eggs from poaching. Since 2018, the financial contributions of Dos Maderas to their campaign has helped protect over 300 nests and 25,000 baby turtles. On each bottle, there is the emblem of a baby sea turtle as a reminder of Luxus the turtle. Dos Maderas Luxus is a limited edition, meaning no more than 8,000 bottles are sold each year and the rum is only slightly filtered, a nod to its sherry patronage.

Author:  Chantal Tseng, DC Bar-Somm

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