Swimming to safety
Oceana contributed these images to Live Science’s Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.
Loggerhead turtles are some of the most threatened animals in U.S. waters. From birth through adulthood, the sea turtles face a wide range of threats from humans: oil slicks, fishing lines and nets, boaters, and even light pollution that disrupts the hatchlings' march to the sea.
However, last week their fortunes changed — the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made a joint announcement to designate 685 miles of beaches and more than 300,000 square miles of ocean as protected habitat, the largest protected "critical habitat" in the nation.
Read more about the new habitat protections in, “Largest-Ever U.S. Critical Habitat Set for Loggerheads,” and view stunning images of loggerheads in the gallery that follows.
Taking a dive
A loggerhead turtle is followed by a fish shoal.
Time for a breather
A loggerhead turtle at the surface getting air.
Starting the journey
A loggerhead sea turtle hatchling (Caretta caretta) heading to sea in Bald Head Island, N.C.
A loggerhead sea turtle swimming in the Rivera Maya in Mexico.
Home once again
A loggerhead nesting on Bald Head Island, N.C.
Follow all of the Expert Voices issues and debates — and become part of the discussion — on Facebook, Twitter and Google +. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. This version of the article was originally published on Live Science.