Turtles in unusually cold Florida sea

This video from Florida in the USA is about 2010 cold weather killing snook, tarpon and other fish.

Fish in winter: here.

From Wildlife Extra:

2000 sea turtles rescued from unusually cold sea off Florida

13/01/2010 16:36:33

Sea turtle rescues continue in Florida waters

January 2010. The unusually long spell of cold weather in Florida has had a big impact on sea turtles. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has been working on a mass rescue effort for sea turtles throughout the state. More than 2,000 sea turtles have been rescued so far, with 750 of those taken for observation & care to Merritt Island National Refuge. …

Most of the more than 2,000 sea turtles affected by the current cold snap in Florida are green turtles [see also here], with smaller numbers of loggerheads, Kemp’s Ridley [see also here] and hawksbill turtles. FWC biologists predict the majority of the affected turtles will survive.

Cold-stunned turtles recuperate at New Orleans aquarium: here.

January 2010. Thousands of endangered marine turtles have been saved over the past year in the Coral Triangle in Asia, in a new program aimed at reducing bycatch in longline tuna fisheries, according to a review released by WWF: here.

ScienceDaily (Feb. 26, 2010) — Spanish scientists have studied interactions between the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) and fishing gear such as longline hooks used at the water surface, mass beachings, and the effects of climate change on these animals. In order to reduce captures of this marine species without causing economic losses for fishermen, the scientists are proposing that fishing in the summer should only be carried out by night and in areas more than 35 nautical miles from land: here.

Critically endangered Hawksbill turtles nesting in Abu Dhabi: here.

Three Hawksbill turtles satellite tagged in Kuwait for the first time. Follow them online here.

8 thoughts on “Turtles in unusually cold Florida sea

  1. Officials: Recent cold snap mainly killing off exotic species of fish

    The fish are a threat to the area’s natural fish species

    By Thomas Stewart

    Published: Tuesday, February 2, 2010 at 12:06 p.m.
    Last Modified: Tuesday, February 2, 2010 at 12:06 p.m.

    Thousands of dead, rotting fish bobbing in a lake by your home, killed by the recent cold snap, might not seem like a good thing.

    But it turns out the cold has been killing mainly exotic species of fish in Florida that threaten the survival of natural species, officials say.

    Alachua County is no exception. Late last month, thousands of Blue Tilapia, an African fish accustomed to tropical waters, died in Bivens Arm, said Jim Myles, a senior environmental specialist with Alachua County’s Environmental Protection Department.

    The fish often can survive a few days of cold weather, Myles said, but the extended low temperatures likely did them in. Temperatures dipped into the 20s and high teens in Gainesville for almost two weeks in mid-January.

    One of the problems with exotic species, said Karen Parker, a spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, is that they sometimes bring new diseases with them.

    Another problem occurs when the species has no natural predators in its new environment. If that’s the case, Parker said, the population can explode and the fish can dominate the waters, competing with the native species for food.

    All but one of the exotic species in Florida waters was introduced illegally, she said.

    “A lot of people will say, ‘Hey, I got these fish in my aquarium and I don’t want them anymore,’ and just let them go,” she said. They often don’t realize that it’s illegal and can wreak havoc with the environment, she said.

    Meanwhile, the residents who live near Bivens Arm will have to contend with the sight and smell of the exotic fish that have met their fate on the lake.

    Patrick Patton, a UF public relations junior who lives in an apartment at Bivens Cove, said the smell has been awful, comparing it to a cow pasture.

    He said he wishes someone would take care of the problem. But Myles said the county doesn’t have the time or money to get rid of the fish. Private companies estimated they would charge $10,000 to $15,000 for the job at Bivens Arm, he said.

    Vultures and other scavengers will eat some of the fish, and the rest will sink to the bottom, he said.

    Eating the fish yourself, however, is not recommended. Parker said the numerous fish kills after the cold snap have prompted many to ask if it’s OK to dine on the dead fish.

    “You don’t know how long they’ve been dead,” she said.

    If that’s not enough of a deterrent, she said people should be aware that any number of things could have killed the fish, including toxins.



  2. Sunday, 02.07.10


    Cold took heavy toll on wildlife, but most will recover

    January’s cold took a heavy toll on Everglades plants and animals. In the case of the pythons, that’s a good thing.
    Similar stories:

    Cold snap kills fish at alarming rate

    Waters all around Florida are about to get very stinky over the next few days as hundreds of thousands of fish killed by the extended cold weather begin to decompose and float to the surface.

    From the Panhandle to the Keys, from the Gold Coast north to the First Coast, anglers and fisheries scientists venturing out into chilly bays, estuaries, rivers, canals, and even the open ocean, are finding dead and stunned fish in a wide range of sizes and species — freshwater and saltwater. And this is just the beginning, experts say.

    “It’s gross. It turns your stomach,” said Luiz Barbieri, chief of marine fisheries research at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) in St. Petersburg. “The magnitude of this is unbelievable. It’s really dismal and sad to see.”

    Fisheries recover from big chill

    South Florida’s inshore waters are slowly warming, the smell of rotting fish carcasses is fading and there are plenty of fish for catch and release in Florida Bay.

    That’s the message for anglers from Islamorada light-tackle guide captain Jim Willcox in the wake of last month’s record cold wave that might have killed millions of salt- and freshwater fish across the state.

    Although the cold killed good numbers of snook, bonefish, tarpon, Goliath grouper, ladyfish, catfish and smaller baitfish such as mojarra and pinfish in Florida Bay, the redfish, black drum and sea trout seem to have made it through just fine. To demonstrate this, Willcox last week took photographer Ron Modra and me for an exploratory catch-and-release fishing trip to the Flamingo area of Everglades National Park, one of the hardest-hit spots during the big chill.

    Snow in Dade and Broward!? Search is on for proof

    The debilitating chill that has afflicted Florida these past several days is testing more than the human spirit. It is challenging the will of the region’s wildlife, both native and exotic.

    Scientists have waited for years for this moment. They are hoping that the extended, freakishly bitter cold just might accomplish what trappers have been unable to do: thin the population of pythons and other invaders running roughshod over the fragile environment and native species. Or at least slow their explosive growth.

    The pythons, cold-blooded natives of South America, Africa and Asia that were brought in as pets and then loosed on the Everglades, can’t survive long in a cold environment.

    Keys coral takes lethal hit from cold

    Bitter cold this month may have wiped out many of the shallow water corals in the Keys.

    Scientists have only begun assessments, with dive teams looking for “bleaching” that is a telltale indicator of temperature stress in sensitive corals, but initial reports are bleak. The impact could extend from Key Largo through the Dry Tortugas west of Key West, a vast expanse that covers some of the prettiest and healthiest reefs in North America.

    Given the depth and duration of frigid weather, Meaghan Johnson, marine science coordinator for The Nature Conservancy, expected to see losses. But she was stunned by what she saw when diving a patch reef 2 ½ miles off Harry Harris Park in Key Largo.

    Coral in Florida Keys suffers lethal hit from cold

    Bitter cold this month may have wiped out many of the shallow water corals in the Keys.

    Scientists have only begun assessments, with dive teams looking for “bleaching” that is a telltale indicator of temperature stress in sensitive corals, but initial reports are bleak. The impact could extend from Key Largo through the Dry Tortugas west of Key West, a vast expanse that covers some of the prettiest and healthiest reefs in North America.

    Given the depth and duration of frigid weather, Meaghan Johnson, marine science coordinator for The Nature Conservancy, expected to see losses. But she was stunned by what she saw when diving a patch reef 21/2 miles off Harry Harris Park in Key Largo.


    Despite four decades of slogging through Everglades marshes and mangroves, wildlife ecologist Frank Mazzotti had never experienced anything like the aftermath of frigid January. The confirmed casualty count so far:

    • At least 70 dead crocodiles.

    • More than 60 manatee carcasses.

    • A bright-side observance of multiple frozen-stiff Burmese pythons, the scourge of the Everglades.

    And also, perhaps the biggest fish kill in modern Florida history.

    “What we witnessed was a major ecological disturbance event equal to a fire or a hurricane,” said Mazzotti, a University of Florida associate professor. “A lot of things have happened that nobody has seen before in Florida.”

    The cold was simply brutal on many tropical plants and animals. Toxic iguana-sicles dropping into the mouths of unfortunate pooches was only the tip of the iceberg that descended for two weeks on South Florida.

    While scientists are still surveying losses, it’s already clear that the record chill wiped out shallow corals in the Keys and devastated manatees. A preliminary assessment that Everglades National Park scientists completed last week also documented a broad and heavy toll on everything from crocodiles to cocoplums to butterflies.

    Dave Hallac, the park’s chief of biological resources, summed up the impact in a word: “substantial.”

    Cold spells, like hurricanes and fires, are part of the natural cycle in South Florida, and scientists believe the system will recover — but some species will certainly rebound more slowly than others.

    “I wouldn’t expect any catastrophic long-term kind of effects,” said Luiz Barbieri, chief of marine fisheries research for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. “Most likely, this has happened occasionally over thousands of years. The system has adapted to these episodic mortality events.”

    Still, mortality numbers like this haven’t been seen in decades in the park.

    A record number of endangered manatees died from cold stress, most of them — more than 60 — found in park waters stretching into the Ten Thousand Islands on the Southwest Coast. More than 70 carcasses of North American crocodile were counted, a significant hit to a species removed from the endangered list only three years ago.

    About 40 species of pineland plants suffered varying degrees of frost damage. On some tree island, cocoplums looked like they were burned. Half of the population of a caterpillar that morphs into the exceedingly rare Florida leafwing butterfly died.

    Then there were the literally countless dead fish — from tiny pilchards to large snook and tarpon.

    The report — compiled by Hallac and colleagues Jeff Kline, Jimi Sadle, Sonny Bass, Tracy Ziegler and Skip Snow and based on aerial and water surveys and reports from a host of other observers — underplayed actual losses. It’s impossible to cover an area as vast as the park, and carcasses can sink, float into thick mangroves and easily go overlooked.


    While the park has experienced colder days, January’s chill was long and intense, punctuated with overcast skies, rain and one sub-freezing plunge. Mazzotti called it a “perfect storm” that left literally no warm refuges.

    The chill was particularly dramatic in coastal waters. The park recorded temperatures that hovered below 68 degrees, a cold-stress limit for manatees, for 18 days; and below 60, the stress limit for snook, for 14 days.

    “I’m really worried about the snook down here,” said Hallac. “It was amazing to see how many of the large, more mature, spawning-age fish were killed.”

    The FWC has already closed snook season until Sept. 1. After reviewing catch reports and samples taken by scientists in coming months, the agency will decide whether to extend the ban on keeping the popular fish or changing regulations to protect any others, Barbieri said.

    Cold-blooded reptiles and tropical plants and fish fared the worst, but some Glades species weathered the nasty weather well. Birds, for instance, emerged largely unruffled, and some were observed scavenging fish.

    Only one death of an alligator, which reside happily in Louisiana, was reported. Crocs, at the northern end of their range in South Florida, died by the dozens, including one familiar to many anglers who fish Flamingo. The 13-foot, 450-pound croc, tagged as a hatchling in 1986, frequently lurked near the Whitewater Bay boat ramp.

    The cold did benefit the park’s battle to control exotic invaders. Frost slammed Old World Climbing Fern, an aggressive vine that smothers natives. Other exotics, from Asian swamp eels to the infamous Burmese python, also took hits scientists intend to further study.


    Scientists said recovery rates will vary among species. While snook, popular with sports anglers, has gotten the most attention from the public, the cold may have been more crippling to Goliath grouper, Barbieri said.

    The fish, which can grow to massive size, nearly disappeared from Florida but had rebounded so well in recent years that wildlife managers had begun considering lifting a ban on keeping them. Goliaths died in massive numbers in the shallow Glades, considered a prime nursery. They also grow far more slowly than snook, taking six years or more to reach maturity, Barbieri said.

    For some hard-hit areas and species, other outside factors can hinder recovery. Everglades marshes and coral reefs aren’t nearly as healthy as they were hundreds of years ago.

    Invasive plants, such as Brazilian pepper, weren’t around to crowd out battered natives.

    “If you’re totally healthy and get a cold or flu, it’s not a problem. If you’ve got diabetes and heart problems, it could be a lot more serious,” Hallac said. “The park is in that kind of compromised condition.”



  3. Sharks save turtles from cold with help from partners

    Posted 4/1/2010 Updated 4/1/2010

    by Martha Carroll
    45th Civil Engineer Squadron

    4/1/2010 – CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION — Average high and low temperatures for this time of year in east central Florida are between 50 and 70° F, but in January Mother Nature took the helm and air temperatures fell into the low 30s.

    Subsequently, the water temperature had been decreasing in the northern Indian River Lagoon system that includes estuary waters of the Indian River, Banana River, Mosquito Lagoon and associated coves, canals, inlets and locks. CCAFS and PAFB share the lagoon shoreline with the United States Fish & Wildlife Service at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, NASA at Kennedy Space Center, the National Park Service at Canaveral National Seashore and many local municipalities in Brevard County.

    Average water temperatures in the shallow water lagoon system vary by depth and location but dropped to a low of 40° F. Cold water events are not unusual for this area, having been observed a few times over the last century. However, the magnitude of this event was certainly unusual, if not unprecedented.

    Biologists from CCAFS, PAFB, MINWR and NASA contractors anticipated impacts to wildlife species and were on the lookout by land and water for threatened and endangered sea turtles affected by the cold water temperatures in the lagoon. When exposed to cold water for an extended period of time, cold blooded sea turtles exhibit signs of hypothermic cold-stunning, becoming lethargic, unable to swim freely to dive to deeper warmer water or even lift their heads to breathe.

    Hence they usually float to the surface and often are carried by currents to a shoreline, now vulnerable to predators and certainly death from cold air exposure.

    January 6 (day one of rescue operations): The water temperature is now 44 F, and rescue operations of cold-stunned sea turtles have started in the back waters of the lagoon. Other turtles are seen struggling at the surface. More than 25 turtles are collected and relocated to an indoor storage facility at MINWR, which serves as the command and triage center until the water temperatures warm to a safe level. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the agency responsible for marine turtle strandings and salvage, has responded and are overseeing the rescues and data collection efforts, including arranging transportation to various sea turtle rehabilitation facilities across the state. The National Marine Fisheries Service is providing funds to support FWC in this effort. While at the MINWR facility, the turtles are documented, measured and given a unique identification number before they are transported to a rehabilitation facility or released. MINWR officials implement the Incident Command System to facilitate management of this multi-agency event.

    January 8: MINWR, NASA and CNS deploy watercraft and helicopters to search the lagoon, while others assist in the transfer of sea turtles from
    watercraft to van or truck and on to the MINWR facility. Additional assistance is requested from additional agencies including biologists from the 45th
    Space Wing at CCAFS, the St. Johns River Water Management District, NASA contractors and local conservation organizations. 45th SW biologists initiate shoreline surveys, rescue and transport over 10 turtles to the MINWR facility and provide containment tubs to be used as turtle holding pens. By this time the running total is over 260 sea turtles rescued, mostly green sea turtles. After documentation, many are transported to rehabilitation facilities throughout Florida and Georgia. These facilities are filling up fast as sea turtles from the Florida panhandle are experiencing similar cold weather impacts.

    January 9-10: The weather continues to deteriorate; rain, cold and wind limit safe rescue operations on land and water. The conditions are nasty for turtles and people alike. The 45th SW provides a temporary shelter for 35 turtles in a heated storage facility at CCAFS – the Ready Building at former Launch Complexes 21 and 22. There is barely enough room to walk amongst the turtles that range in size from 10 pounds to more than 500 pounds. With the window unit heater on full blast, towels, blankets and field jackets are placed over the turtles in a feeble attempt to warm them. Most of the rescued are green turtles. A few exhibit signs of fibropapilloma tumors, a viral disease that commonly afflicts green turtles inhabiting the lagoon. Because of this contagious affliction, any turtles exhibiting these tumors are segregated from other turtles during the staging and documentation
    process through release. Even with frigid weather and water temperatures, more than 100 turtles are rescued from lagoon waters and delivered to the MINWR facility. Efforts at the MINWR facility are manageable and by day’s end the grand total is close to 400 sea turtles.

    January 11: 45th SW biologists and their contractor SpecPro quickly devise a plan to transport the turtles kept overnight from CCAFS to the MINWR facility. 45th SW Security Forces offers two enclosed trailers for turtle transportation and SpecPro offers two heavy duty trucks with drivers to haul the turtle filled trailers to MINWR. Meanwhile, IOMS, another contractor at CCAFS empties their box van of all its contents to make room for dozens of turtles to be transported. Who would know at this point in time that these vehicles and drivers would be turtle life savers? Arriving at the MINWR facility, a six-bay equipment shop, 45th SW biologists discover the floor completely covered with sea turtles, containment bins, tarps and people moving in all directions. Turtles are coming in one door and, over time, moving out the opposite door for rehabilitation or release elsewhere. Three 45th SW biologists, Angy Chambers, Martha Carroll and Don George, jump into the organized chaos and begin assisting with turtle lifting, processing and whatever needs to be done. As Florida Marine Turtle Permit holders, 45th SW biologists are permitted and qualified to handle sick, injured or deceased sea turtles, so turtle processing is the duty for the day. All day, more and more turtles are delivered to the facility by FWS, FWC, turtle advocacy groups, volunteers and ordinary citizens. The MINWR facility is filling up. Since day one and without pause, FWC is diligently coordinating with various aquaria facilities that are able to take the turtles in for rehab; subsequently, healthy turtles that appear ready for release are transported to warmer South Florida waters. On the shoreline of Patrick Air Force Base, 20 miles south of CCAFS, concerned FamCamp residents and 45th SW biologist Keitha Dattilo-Bain collect over 49 turtles and arrange for their transport to MINWR. A large number of the turtles at the MINWR facility exhibit signs of fibropapilloma tumors so segregation is difficult but imperative. In addition, finding a rehab facility equipped to accept one fibropapilloma turtle, let alone hundreds, is even more difficult. Meanwhile, the MINWR facility processes over 350 turtles, bringing the grand total to approximately 800.

    January 12: More turtles are rescued from the CCAFS and PAFB shoreline. 45th SW biologists continue to process turtles at the MINWR shop. Every turtle is processed upon arrival and departure. A makeshift “ICU” is delineated, where heating pads and heavy blankets are draped over the frigid turtles, awaiting examinations from veterinarians. Turtles that don’t survive are segregated and taken to the makeshift “morgue”, prepared for tissue sample collection and properly disposed. Using the Security Forces trailers, 45th SW contractor SpecPro is transporting turtles to warmer water or various rehab facilities in Florida. Turtle convoys ranging up to six hours round trip are ongoing all day and into the night. Other trucks, vans, boats and trailers seem to show up out of nowhere; they’re either delivering newly rescued turtles or transporting turtles to their rehab destinations. Hundreds of turtles are flipper tagged and Passive Integrated Transponder tagged; once the water temperatures warm, plans are in the making to place sonic tags onto any turtles released locally into the lagoon. Because of the enormous rescue effort, the number of turtles, and the urgency to
    return them to water, many of the released turtles are taken to warmer waters far from their original location. Tagging will be used to track movement within the lagoon and near shore waters of the Atlantic Ocean and may provide insight into the long-term outcome of the releases. A record 500 new turtles are processed today, bringing the grand total to approximately 1,300.

    January 13: 45th SW biologists are again processing turtles at MINWR along with the team. Another 500 or so turtles arrive while others are on
    their way to rehab facilities or released into warm south Florida waters. Hundreds of turtles are PIT tagged. Data sheet management for each turtle is an overwhelming challenge but is remaining well organized. Volunteers are assigned housekeeping detail, changing out the soiled cardboard, cleaning the tarps and mopping up the mess on the floors. Others are continually washing out the kiddie pools and bins used for turtle containment. The water temperatures in the lagoon have increased to approximately 46° F; this may be a good sign of things to come. The grand total of rescued sea turtles now stands at approximately 1,800.

    January 14: Rescue efforts continue at MINWR. The 45 SW again provides support with processing, delivery and transport of incoming and outgoing
    turtles. Lagoon waters continue warming and weather forecasts are good. This results in a criteria shift for processing – turtle releases will be concentrated to their areas of origin, rapid processing and sonic tagging of the hardier turtles begin. By afternoon, the workers notice a sudden drop in activity. Aside from the volume of outgoing turtles, new rescues are now arriving at a trickle, and the volunteers are able to catch up during the lull. Grand total of turtles rescued reaches approximately 1,850.

    January 15: Lagoon temperatures have risen to a range of 52-59 F. The 45 SW is back at MINWR again, processing remaining turtles, assisting with
    housekeeping and transporting outgoing turtles to their carefully coordinated destinations. A remarkable sight, we can see the floor now; the tarps and pools are more empty than full. The activity in the area designated for incoming turtles has slowed to a relieving crawl. We start to catch our breaths and think about what just happened these last 10 or so days.

    January 16: Lagoon waters temperatures are above 57 F. It appears the crisis is over but there is still work to be done. More and more releases are
    occurring, including on the shoreline of CCAFS. The 45 SW ends their support of this event with biologists and leadership participating in the release of green sea turtles, bringing the rescue effort full circle. As the last days go by, the MINWR shop has been cleaned up, supplies and other items are returned to their owners and the number crunching accelerates. February: In the month following the cold stun event, an After Action Review meeting is held and attended by all of the participating agencies. The meeting provides a forum for discussing what really happened, lessons learned, pros and cons and suggested improvements for the next time. As a result, agency protocols are under revision, contact lists updated and logistical needs for future events proposed. For the State of Florida, preliminary numbers are showing a fatality rate of 20 percent for all rescues. With up to 2,000 sea turtles rescued in the Indian River Lagoon alone, one could say with confidence that the outcome was a good one and very much worth the effort.

    Epilogue: Looking back, there were a number of lessons learned from this unprecedented event. Besides observing the impact of cold waters on sea turtles and other aquatic species, a relatively large population of adult sea turtles was discovered in the lagoon and the dedication of many eager agencies and volunteers was witnessed. In addition, the 45 SW participated in an interagency event that was deftly orchestrated and clearly successful.

    The enormity of the cold stun event was the catalyst that brought the agencies together. There was a desperate need for support, a common cause to unite behind, and hope for a positive outcome for a creature that is very much a part of the wildlife scene in the Brevard County area. As the agencies stepped up or were called in, the Incident Command System was at work; behind the scenes, but in place. Directions and information flowed from the incident commander down to team leaders and then to team members; subsequent information flowed up to the commander. Participants were given the power to offer suggestions, ask questions and provide assistance where needed; appreciation was always apparent, no one was turned away. As the volume of turtles increased, leaders were given more constraints and predicaments to work through, but amazingly enough, additional assistance was asked for and received. Additional supplies were needed and in no time they appeared. It seemed that as the number of turtles grew, so did the number of qualified leaders and volunteers, ready to carry the load. Through the incident command system, there were no power struggles, no distracting disagreements or disruptive behaviors from any of the parties involved, at least not from my vantage point. A tremendous amount of professionalism was conveyed from all agencies, all participants and all volunteers, no matter their duties. There were so many teams and individuals working numerous facets of the event that no one person or agency could have handled the effort alone; and we all knew it.

    Many thanks go to Angy Chambers (45 SW), Don George (45 SW) and Jane Provancha (NASA-IHA contractor) for photographing and chronicling the event for this article.



  4. Fewer Lizards May Be Result Of Cold Winter

    Sunday, April 18, 2010 1:15:10 PM

    PINELLAS COUNTY — While the weather outside seems to be getting back to normal, some Bay area residents may have noticed fewer bushes rustling and lizards scurrying around.

    Gary Morse with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says while the cold winter may have put a damper on outdoor plans, there may be a small benefit.

    “We’re probably fortunate that occasionally we get some cold weather through Florida that knocks back the non-native plants and animals,” says Morse.

    One of the state’s biggest culprits has long been the small brown or Cuban anole lizards, but it appears they didn’t fare too well during the extended cold snap.

    “We’re noticing a lot less of invasive tropical species which are non-native to Florida,” says Morse.

    Reptile experts say the little invaders first arrived in the area by hitching a ride in tropical plants.

    According to Morse, the native green anole lizards may stand a chance to recover their dominance with the scarcity of the non-native varieties.

    “Our native anoles do a much better job of fitting into our environment and taking care of our insect problems,” says Morse.

    Experts also say anole lizards can live up to four years in the wild, and are closely related to the iguana.

    This story is from our Bright House Networks partner, Bay News 9



  5. Hawksbill sea turtles are hunted across the globe for their shells and meat – and this uncontrolled killing threatens the recovery of the species.

    Protecting sea turtles has never been more urgent as the oil released into the Gulf of Mexico unleashes one of the world’s greatest ecological catastrophes.

    Our local patrols are on the ground in Nicaragua’s Pearl Cays, the largest remaining nesting area for hawksbills in the Caribbean – and our goal is to raise $15,000 ahead of the peak nesting season.

    Will you make a donation to support our patrols in the Pearl Cays and our critical efforts for sea turtle conservation worldwide?

    Our patrols are on the beaches of the Pearl Cays right now – living in a nearby camp and monitoring the coast to protect nesting hawksbill turtles and their eggs from poachers.

    But wanton development on nesting beaches is putting new pressure on hawksbills. This is a defining moment for their survival.

    Your donation before August 6, ahead of the peak nesting season, will help us:

    * Discourage poaching among local fishermen through education.
    * Work with local authorities to create management plans and protected areas for sea turtle conservation, and develop economic incentives for conservation and eco-tourism.
    * Purchase equipment for patrols to protect nesting females and critical nesting beaches from poaching.
    * Protect juvenile and adult hawksbills on their foraging grounds by patrolling foraging areas and the water near beaches.

    Today, when hawksbills are entangled in fishing nets, local people in Nicaragua who once might have killed them for their shells and meat are delivering the turtles, alive and healthy, to our tag and release program.

    We urgently need to continue and expand this work to ensure the survival of these wonderful animals.

    Please give now and help us protect the hawksbill turtle.

    Thank you for giving as generously as you can.


    Liz Bennett
    Vice President, Species Conservation
    Wildlife Conservation Society


  6. Pingback: Good sea turtle news from Florida, USA | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  7. Pingback: Hundreds of manatees at Florida springs | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  8. Pingback: Wasps get backpacks for study on animal altruism | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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