Facts & Figures | WWF

Facts & Figures

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Baby loggerhead turtle
© Charikleia Minotou / WWF-Greece

Loggerhead turtles: who are they?

Loggerhead turtles are the most common in the Mediterranean, nesting on beaches from Greece, Italy and Turkey to Israel and Libya.
 

Why do they matter?

Sea turtles are a fundamental link in marine ecosystems. 

The way loggerhead turtles feed, “digging” or “mining” the seabed searching for their hard-shelled prey, recycles important nutrients and keeps ocean floor sediments in balance.

They help maintain the health of coral reefs and seagrass beds.

They also carry colonies of small plants and animals on their shells which serve as important habitat themselves. One single loggerhead turtle can host as many as 100 species of animals and plants. 

The main threats

Incidental capture (bycatch)
  • Fisheries bycatch, and abandoned drift nets are killing turtles every year. In the Mediterranean over 132,000 turtles are caught in nets every year and over 44,000 die from incidental deaths. 

Habitat loss and degradation
  • Uncontrolled coastal development is the main threat. Umbrellas and other beach furniture that serve the needs of tourists threaten the turtles' nesting beaches.      
  • Nesting and most hatching happen mostly at night. Human access to the beach, noise and lights at night near or on nesting beaches disturb females laying their eggs in the sand and the babies getting out of the nest.
     
Pollution
  • Sea turtles confuse plastic waste and other marine litter with jellyfish as they feed. This often leads to suffocation. 
     
Climate change
  • The sex of baby turtles is determined by the temperature in the nest – warmer temperatures produce females and cooler temperatures produce males. With global warming this could distort sex ratios and threaten the survival of some populations.