Sea Turtle Awareness Day celebrated during Aquarium Overnight, and a real baby Sea Turtle in residence

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) — Sea Turtle Awareness Day at the BioPark is being celebrated with an Aquarium event, and the opportunity to witness a live baby sea turtle swimming up close.

Sea Turtle Awareness Day is on Saturday, Jan. 20, and will be the focus of this month’s Aquarium Overnight event. The fun-filled day of activities, art and films will include hands-on stations throughout the Aquarium. Discover fun facts, make a children’s sea turtle craft, and watch a special showing of “Saving Sea Turtles: Preventing Extinction,” at the Aquarium’s theater.

In addition, the Albuquerque BioPark is hosting a baby sea turtle for one year, offering an exciting opportunity for land-locked Albuquerque residents to view the amazing creatures up close.

Sea Turtles are an endangered species.  Each year thousands of hatchling turtles emerge from their nests along the southeast U.S. coast and enter the Atlantic Ocean. Sadly, only an estimated one in 1,000 to 10,000 will survive to adulthood. The natural obstacles faced by young and adult sea turtles are staggering, but it is the increasing threats caused by humans that are driving them to extinction. Today, all sea turtles found in U.S. waters are federally listed as endangered, except for the loggerhead which is listed as threatened.

Since sea turtles use both marine and terrestrial habits during their life cycles, the effects of climate change are likely to have a devastating impact on these endangered species. Changing temperatures affect nesting beaches. With melting polar ice caps and rising sea levels, beaches are starting to disappear. As the water level begins to rise, the size of nesting beaches decrease. Stronger storms, predicted as a result of increasing temperatures, will continue to erode coastal habitats.

Higher temperatures can adversely affect sea turtle gender ratio. Increasing incubation temperatures could result in more female sea turtles, which reduces reproductive opportunities and decreases genetic diversity.  Turtle eggs incubated below 81.86 degrees Fahrenheit will hatch as male, while those incubated above 87.8 degrees will be female, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. Current reports indicate that 99 percent of the juvenile green sea turtles in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef are now female, due to climate change.

The BioPark’s Aquarium Overnights will happen every month in 2018. Spend the night & explore the Aquarium! Learn in-depth about ocean animals. Meet marine animals up close at the touch pools, play a game, get crafty (with provided ideas and supplies) and take in a marine movie at the Aquarium theater. Each month’s overnight is tied into a theme. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Group size is limited to 20. Enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis. Your payment is your reservation. No refunds for Aquarium Overnight ticket purchases.

For more information, visit the BioPark website.