Saving The Turtle Babies On The Gulf Coast

by AylaLab on 10 July 2010

in the Science & Environment section of The Anipal Times

To properly read this arrrr-tickle, you must be listening to the theme from CSI.

Bommmmmm-ba-ba-bom!!!! Won’t get fooled again! Bommmmmm-ba-ba-bom!!!! Howwwwwwwl.

Starting the week of 1 July 2010, you can see oil globs and crime-scene tape if you go to Gulf Coast beaches in the United States.

Bommmmmm-ba-ba-bom!!!! Howwwwwwwl.

While many in the anipal community feel it would be desirable if the beaches had been declared crime scenes and those responsible at BP were arrested and tried, that is not quite the case.

Bommmmmm-ba-ba-bom!!!! Won’t get fooled again! Bommmmmm-ba-ba-bom!!!! Howwwwwwwwwl.

Eric Staats of the Marco Eagle News Service reported on 2 July 2010 that all along the Gulf Coast of Florida, volunteers and paid employees are searching for the 4,000 to 5,000 turtle nests that annually appear on beaches from Tampa Bay to the Florida Keys; each nest averages 100 eggs. When a nest is found, four stakes are inserted at it’s edges and yellow crime-scene tape is attached to form a rectangular perimeter marking the nest. GPS coordinates are also recorded in case a storm washes the markers away.

Marked sea turtle nest

A sea turtle nest on Florida's east coast in Boca Raton.

The New York Times on 28 June 2010 reprinted a story by Noelle Straub of Greenwire reporting that the United States Fish and Wildlife Service had created a plan to physically move the 50,000 sea turtle eggs usually found along the Florida and Alabama Gulf Coasts to what National Public Radio called “an environmentally controlled warehouse at the Kennedy Space Center” where the turtles will be released into the Atlantic Ocean once they’ve hatched.  CNN reports the eggs will be collected until November.  Both NPR and CNN report the probable number of eggs to be between 70,000 and 80,000.

There is great danger in moving the eggs. The Marco Eagle quotes Anne Meylan, the coordinator of nesting beach surveys for Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, as saying the NWFS transportation solution is fraught with dangers for a number of reasons: the hatchlings’ biological instincts to return to their native beach will be disturbed, and the eggs may not survive the trip to the Atlantic Coast. Indeed, CNN reported on 3 July 2010 that turtle eggs are so fragile that even turning them upside down can kill the baby turtles inside.

Meylan contends that Florida’s experience with the Tampa Bay oil spill dictates a different strategy. She wants cages placed over the nests to prevent hatchling sea turtles from entering the sea; then hatchlings, rather than eggs, can be moved safely to new beaches.

Regardless of which strategy is chosen, The Deepwater Horizon Unified Command has announced that FedEx Corporation has agreed to donate its expertise and equipment to create the “safest transportation solution for the relocation effort.”

Baby Sea Turtle

A healthy baby sea turtle heads for the waves in Florida.

After the baby turtles are released in the Atlantic, no one will know how many were able to survive until 35 years have passed.  CNN reports that sea turtles do not reach sexual maturity for 35 years.  At that time, the survivors will return to their home beaches to deposit eggs. 

What is happening on the Gulf Coast is bad for anipals and bad for humans. It sure is good to see so many people working together to save the baby sea turtles!

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{ 1 comment }

mariodacat 11 July 2010 at 3:51 pm

It’s just so sad that this even happened in the first place. At least people are trying to save the sea turtles as best they can.

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