Climate Change | NEWS

Species Biodiversity Critical to Sustaining Life

Today marks World Wildlife Day and this year’s theme “Recovering Key Species for Ecosystem Restoration” is a reminder that as the planet continues to warm under Climate Change, the biodiversity crisis becomes more imminent.
03 Mar 2022 06:30
Species Biodiversity Critical to Sustaining Life

Today marks World Wildlife Day and this year’s theme “Recovering Key Species for Ecosystem Restoration” is a reminder that as the planet continues to warm under Climate Change, the biodiversity crisis becomes more imminent.

 

The recent findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability , shows that the pace and scale of climate impacts is accelerating rapidly, bringing devastating consequences and outstripping current actions to address them.

 

The IPCC report a stark warning yet on the catastrophic effects of climate change on human society and the natural world.

Increased incidences of heatwaves, droughts and floods are already exceeding plants’ and animals’ tolerance thresholds, driving mass mortalities in species such as trees and corals.

The science confirms that climate, biodiversity and human health are fully interdependent and maintaining biodiversity is critical to human survival. So there is urgent need to not only protect key species but also restore degraded ecosystems if humanity is to sustain itself well into the future.

 

For this World Wildlife Day, WWF would like to reemphasize the importance of marine turtles, their critical function within oceans and their plight under Climate Change.

Marine turtles maintain healthy sea grass beds and coral reefs through their feeding habits, provide key habitat for other marine life as it traverses the Pacific Ocean, and helps to balance marine food webs and facilitates nutrient cycling from water to land.

However, their ecosystem function tends to be overlooked as most Pacific communities view the species as a food source.

 

Although unsustainable harvest of marine turtles still continues unchecked in many places in the Pacific, the added pressure brought about by Climate Change may push this species towards the brink of extinctions in many parts in time.

Sea level rise and intensity of cyclones experienced in the Pacific is of particular concern especially with nesting beach sites.

As nesting beaches erode or become heavily altered from cyclones, marine turtles slowly begin to lose critical beach areas to lay their eggs and perpetuate the species.

 

Adding further dilemma to this situation is the fact that marine turtles are biologically engineered for natal homing meaning they return to their exact birthplace to reproduce.

With the loss of nesting beaches over time, we will expect to see less turtles nesting.

It is critical therefore that we as Pacific communities protect both the species and their habitats.

 

“If left unchecked, the impacts of climate change will exacerbate the threats already being faced by sea turtle populations the world over.”

“Critical sea turtle nesting beaches need to be carefully managed and protected through a collaborative effort involving relevant national authorities but most importantly by those communities where these important nesting beaches and foraging habitats are located.”

 

“WWF is currently undertaking surveys and research across Fiji to determine the health and status of these important nesting beaches with the intention of supporting national sea turtle recovery efforts,” said Sustainable Fisheries Programme Manager Duncan Williams.

There are seven species of turtles in the world in which four species nest and migrate through Fiji’s waters.

 

These four species of turtles are also on the International Union for Conservation of Natures (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

WWF will continue to advocate on the need to not disturb turtles at the nesting sites within the months of October to March as well as to abstain from consuming and trading of turtle meat and eggs.

If Turtles are caught accidently through fishing or by any other means , we strongly ask that they strongly return to the wild.

 

Feedback: adi.sovasiga@fijisun.com.fj



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