Call it a comeback.
With everything going on in the world, it’s nice to be able to finally share some news worth smiling about: The sea turtles are making a major comeback.
As Science Alert reported, while six of the seven species of sea turtle remain at varying threat levels on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species, there are signs that show these amazing animals may be on the path to population recovery.
While studying habitats in nearly 60 regions across the globe, researchers found that more populations of turtles are improving rather than declining thanks in part to human conservation efforts.
“There's a positive sign at the end of the story,” Antonios Mazaris, an ecology professor at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, told NBC. “We should be more optimistic about our efforts in society.”
Mazaris, who published his findings in the journal Science Advances on Wednesday, specifically pointed to the Hawaiian green sea turtles as a significant conservation success story.
Conservation efforts may even be going a little too well, as according to Roderic Mast, a sea turtle advisory group co-chairman at the International Union for Conservation of Nature: “They have more turtles than they know what to do with." Still, Mast told NBC, “It's a good problem to have.”
So how did we get to finally say we’ve done something good for the environment? As NBC reported, it’s thanks to a few very important environmental laws passed by the U.S. and Mexican governments in the 1970s to help protect these beautiful creatures. Since then, Mast explained, populations have been growing by about 10 to 15 percent annually.
However, there are still a few species of sea turtles, specifically the leatherbacks in the Eastern and Western Pacific, who need our help, as according to Mazaris’ findings their numbers are in perilous decline. Mazaris told the New York Times, this is a story of “cautionary optimism.”
“Sea turtles are bellwethers. They're flagships that we use to tell the story of what's going on in the oceans,” Mast told NBC. “And that's why people should care about turtles.”