Sea turtles in Fuerteventura
Sea turtles in Fuerteventura

Sea turtles in Fuerteventura

In the Canary Islands, four of the seven species of sea turtles known worldwide have been observed. The most common turtle in this water is the Boba Turtle, easily observable throughout the year. In less quantity we find the Green Turtle, frequent in harbors and bays with calm waters, where it usually spends long periods rested and fed until it reaches adulthood, when it returns to the beach that saw it born.

Even less is the Leatherback Turtle, the largest of them, weighing several hundred kilos and unlike the other turtles its shell is not completely solid, is formed by a species of rods that go from head to tail coated of cartilage of gray color, giving an aspect of lute belly, for that reason is known with this name. And the strangest of all is the Hawksbill Turtle, more frequent in tropical waters and very threatened, since until a few years ago it was hunted for its coveted shell, used to make glasses, combs and jewelry molds.

Sea turtles are great travelers. A good part of what we observe in the waters of the Canary Islands apparently comes from the Caribbean beaches. These turtles have crossed the Atlantic dragged by the marine currents, specifically by the warm current of the Gulf that flows north along the east coast of North America to reach the south of Greenland where it cools and descends to the south furrowing the northern front of Europe and the northwest of Africa.

Apparently, in the past, the beaches of the Canaries hosted small colonies of turtles. The increase of the human population, the ease of reaching the colonies and the impact of tourism and fishing probably led to their disappearance.

Today there is a project to recover the old breeding areas of the Boba Turtle on the beaches of Fuerteventura, a hope to be able to see groups of these reptiles spawning on our beaches. Although the challenge is not easy: every year a high number of sea turtles are victims of the fishing industry. As well as the contamination by plastics that they ingest thought to be their favorite food, jellyfish, floating oil, garbage and other affections derived from human activities that have led them to be threatened globally.

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