We, turtle lovers, are absolutely amazed by the elegance of the sea turtles. Many people even travel far to the islands just to get a glimpse of these turtles. But then again, a few try to get their hands on this majestic creature. So, can you actually buy a sea turtle? How much is a sea turtle worth?
Sea turtles are worth more than regular aquatic and land turtles. The black market sells sea turtle meats, eggs, shells, and bones for more than $3500. However, the sea turtle trade of any kind is a criminal offence.
What happens if you take in a sea turtle? Is there any legal way of getting a marine turtle? I will discuss everything in the following article.
How Much Is A Sea Turtle Worth?
Truth be told. Sea turtles are not up for sale, well, at least not legally.
But you know what they say. With money, you can behold any precious thing in this world. The same is with the sea turtles.
Well, of course, you can not raise a sea turtle in your backyard pool. This species requires an environment totally different from the rest of the turtle species to thrive. But yes, some turtle hobbyists and collectors do not care what is best for the turtles. Instead, they go to an extreme extent to fulfil their desires.
People taking in sea turtle hatchlings from a freshly hatched nest is not new. Those freaks try to warm up the pool, use salts to replicate sea water and feed the babies seagrass or weeds. In such congested space, sea turtles can survive for some days but not for long. The worst part is that those people know all about it.
When the turtles are growing, they start looking for potential buyers. And honestly, some rich people will spend a generous amount on adding a sea turtle to their collections.
There is news of illegal sea turtles trades where the sellers pay thousands of dollars to get a hand on this species.
Again, while we are concerned about the delicate life of sea turtles, these people actually do not care. They already know they can make thousands out of a dead sea turtle.
You are too naive if you do not know about turtle poaching. It refers to the sales of turtle shells, bones, eggs, and meats.
In many countries, turtle dishes are considered exquisite meals. Even some tribal communities around the coastal areas arrange annual feasts where they cook sea turtle meats as a part of their ritual.
Not only the turtle meal. The turtle shells and bones are also expensive. According to many ancient references, the shell and bone powders have medicinal properties. Again, in many countries, these parts are converted into arts and home decor.
Unfortunately, sea turtles are the perfect candidates for all of these positions. There is no wonder why this species is worth millions to those illegal traders and collectors.
Recently, the news went viral when a man was caught attempting to sell one green sea turtle and two sea turtle shells at a fish festival. He asked for $3500 without even noticing he was making an illegal trade. Later, the authorities interrupted his actions and did a proper investigation.
A scene like this is not uncommon. In fact, a proper study indicates the sales of sea turtle poaching.
According to the team, the illegal business network kills turtles and collects their shells, bones, meats, and eggs from 18 possible nesting sites distributed throughout Asia, Africa, and America. Among these 18 sites, poaching sales from 9 sites are about $582,000.
From these numbers, you can definitely make a rough estimation of the worth of sea turtles.
But here is the deal. Keeping sea turtles as pets or poaching sea turtles is a federal offence in the USA. The accused can be fined $1000 and sent to jail for 1 year.
How Much Do Sea Turtle Eggs Cost?
The trade of sea turtle eggs is highly illegal. Even the accused can be fined or sent to jail if proven guilty. However, instead of such boundaries, the sea turtle egg black market is thriving.
People often take eating sea turtle eggs as a delicacy. It is why many restaurants buy the clutches from the black market chains and keep them secret for the exclusive members.
Such food habits of people have created a market base. Here the coastal locals dig up a fresh sea turtle nest and collect the eggs. The price of these eggs is between $3 to $5. Sometimes, a sea turtle egg can cost up to $300.
See, the marine turtle species is already extinct. Though the mother turtles deposit hundreds of eggs each season, the survival rate is less than 1%. So again, fewer babies who actually make it to the sea do not always make it to the end.
In such scenarios, killing and feasting on the sea turtle egg clutches is literally not a good idea. Instead, turtle lovers should come forward and make awareness about the conservation of these marine turtles.
Can You Adopt A Sea Turtle?
The answer might shock you, but you can adopt sea turtles. Well, do not get the wrong idea and lash back at me. I know sea turtles are extremely vulnerable and not suitable to grow in an indoor habitat. But the concept of sea turtle adoption is not about physically owning the creature.
See, thousands of eggs are stolen each year because of the lack of security. Among the leftover clutches, not all the eggs hatch. Again, even if the hatchlings make it to the sea, their survival rate to young age is lower than you expect.
Considering all of these factors, the marine institutes have offered a hand to protect the nests. They ensure the maximum number of eggs are hatched, and most babies can make it to the ocean. However, in some cases, the organizations have to take in hatchlings and care for them until they get back to their feet.
It is evident that these institutes do not have such massive funding. Therefore, they launch an event allowing the mass people to adopt the sea turtles virtually. Under these programs, you fund a single egg, whole clutch or a baby. With your money, the organizations ensure quality care for these creatures, ensuring their survival.
The subscription fee is really low. There are several packages starting from $50 or lower. With the premium subscription, you will get a tracking code to monitor the turtle’s movement for the time being.
In fact, I have a bracelet of my own that lets me track my sea turtle. Such a tracking system also helps the foundations collect data on these marine creatures’ lifestyles.
This way, you can flex in front of your friends about adopting a sea turtle. But, at the same time, you are contributing to the conservation of this species.
Can You Keep A Sea Turtle?
You can only keep a sea turtle in your possession if the creature requires rescuing. In most cases, moving the turtle to a proper rescue home or related marine organization is recommended. But if the turtle is in a vulnerable state, your home can be a temporary stay for it. However, do not forget to inform the concerned authorities about this event.
You have to let go of the sea turtle as soon as it gets better. If the wildlife authorities find a sea turtle or its parts in your possession, they can charge you a fine or send you to jail. There are multiple cases where the accused have paid thousands for their foolish acts.
You can learn about the fines and charges of illegal sea turtle possession from this article.
Are Sea Turtles Worth Saving?
You can earn thousands by selling dead sea turtles. Right?
But here is the deal.
Sea turtles leading a healthy life can bring millions to the table. Wondering how?
Well, I have already mentioned that black markets earn more than $500000 by selling sea turtle meat, shell, eggs, and bones. However, the same study has revealed other statistics.
According to the report, the revenue in the turtle tourism sector is thrice the time of those black market sales. It means job opportunities are created based on turtle tourism and are a profitable business. Therefore, keeping the sea turtles alive can be a way of elevating the local economy.
This was an economic win. However, saving sea turtles has environmental benefits too.
See, in the ocean, all the marine creatures contribute even a little to maintain a healthy environment. For example, sea turtles have been participating in the job for over 100 million years.
These creatures eat algae, seaweed, etc., and act as a bearer of nutrients to the beaches. Again, other marine animals are dependent on sea turtles.
The ocean food chain will collapse if the sea turtle species go extinct. Not to mention the ecological imbalance that will be created worldwide.
Therefore, there is no other way but to save sea turtles.
Any trade with sea turtles is illegal, and you can even go to jail. But then again, the black market business owners won’t listen to such rules, and they are printing thousands of dollars by selling dead sea turtles. But the truth is, a sea turtle is worth more alive than dead. So you can build a tourism sector based on the turtles and not to mention their contribution to saving the environment.