For upwards of 150 million years sea turtles have inhabited the Earth’s oceans. Sea turtles are well-adapted for life in the marine environment. Their large and streamlined bodies, along with their large and powerful fore flippers, allow them to migrate great distances to search for food, to mate, and to nest.
World-wide, only seven species of sea turtles have been identified by biologists. Of these seven, six have been recorded in U.S. waters. Of these six turtles, five can be found in the waters of Gulf Islands National Seashore. These include the green, loggerhead, hawksbill, Kemp’s ridley, and leatherback sea turtles. Their presence within the national seashore helps to keep in balance the marine ecosystem and illustrate the diversity and beauty of marine wildlife. However, they face an uncertain future due primarily to human activity.