Saving Sea Turtles - A review

Have you ever seen a creature as amazing as a sea turtle?  They're magnificent creatures - and many people are quite worried about their longevity upon planet earth.

My review of Jame Spotila's excellent work, Saving Sea Turtles, is below.

Comments welcome!
Happy Friday.

-Steve King
Available at

Saving Sea Turtles: Extraordinary Stories from the Battle against Extinction[Hardcover]
by James R. Spotila
240 pages, $24.95
ISBN-13: 978-0801899072

Review by Steven King, MBA, MEd

In 2003, Disney released Finding Nemo a forlorn tale which chronicles the haphazard journey of a Clownfish named Marlin as he navigates the Great Barrier Reef to locate his missing son, Nemo.  In the opening scenes of that movie, Nemo excitedly asks his dad if he has ever met a shark with an important follow-on question: “How old are sea turtles?”  Marlin, perhaps a little too annoyed while contemplating his son’s first day of school replies, “Well, if I ever meet a sea turtle I'll ask him, right after I'm done talking to the shark.”  Fortunately, this said tale has a happy ending—Marlin is reunited with his son and informs him that some sea turtles live to be 150 years old.

Such is the mythos of animated cartoons where sea creatures are presented as talkative, happy, and engaging.  While sea turtles can live to be quite old, the reality is that their numbers are dwindling every year.  In his Saving Sea Turtles: Extraordinary Stories from the Battle against Extinction, James Spotila illustrates the issues that directly threaten these amazing aquatic animals.

Dr. James Spotila, a tenured biology professor for Drexel University, has penned a moving work which illustrates the tragedy of many varieties of sea turtles.    While he does have a penchant for dropping names and places where his graduate students have studied, the book does not read like a lifeless doctoral dissertation.  Quite the contrary, I found his thesis to be stimulating and provocative—throughout I kept asking myself: Is there anything I can do about this? In this collection of stories, the reader learns some amazing truths about the ongoing effort to preserve sea turtles for future generations.

I will never forget a turtle encounter I had while walking along the coastline in North Carolina.  Early one morning, my wife and I were enjoying a leisurely stroll when we were flagged down by a determined beach visitor. He showed us the patterns in the sand that were indicative of a sea turtle coming ashore to place her eggs safely in a nest at the head of the beach.  Together we called the local conservation society who dispatched a group of volunteers within minutes to cordon off the nest with appropriate notification. 

Turtle conservation is necessary to pass along the appreciation of these amazing animals to our children.  This book will anger you when you read of the lengths to which some will go to destroy nature. Everyone can play a part in sea turtles conservation—if you enjoy aquatic life, you will love this book.


  1. There was this video, I think utube, of people going down to the beach, whole families, with these huge canvas slings and picking up sea turtle eggs by the hundreds to take home and eat. I was appalled. It was a while ago. I will send you the link if I find it. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Spotila brings up similar stories in his book. I found it disturbing as well, but if my family wasn't eating and there were copious turtle eggs about...I might be inclined to do the same thing.

    It was an interesting read.

    -Books at The Beach


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