Sea turtles often return decades later to the same beach where they were born to mate and lay eggs. This migration from feeding to mating grounds can be hundreds or thousands of miles long.
But some sea turtles may return to a beach that is far less pristine than when they left it. Agricultural runoff can harm coral and pollute the waters around nesting beaches, destroying food sources and habitats for sea turtles. Sea wall construction degrades nesting beaches and light pollution from beach home lighting confuses hatchlings as they try to reach the ocean.
Sea turtles who return to beaches that have severe habitat loss or pollution are far less likely to produce successful offspring, harming sea turtle populations that are already dwindling.
These issues are not going unnoticed, however. Conservation groups around the world engage in various activities to protect and conserve areas vital to sea turtle reproduction and survival. Nest protection, habitat restoration, and community awareness campaigns are all regular activities done on hundreds of beaches from the United States to Africa and China.