Rare sea turtle in Nova Scotia, Canada

This video says about itself:

23 February 2015

A leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) feeds on jellyfish off the coast of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada. Video shot using a turtle-borne video camera. Video copyright Canadian Sea Turtle Network.

From CBC News in Canada:

Rare sea turtle washes up in Nova Scotia

The Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, nicknamed Eric by those who found it, is hypothermic and very thin

A rare sea turtle that washed ashore in Halls Harbour, N.S., is being nursed back to health after surviving in waters that are typically far too cold for the species.

In fact, this is the only documented Kemp’s ridley sea turtle ever be found alive in Nova Scotia.

“There have only been 13 Kemp’s ridley turtles recorded in the history of Atlantic Canada,” said Kathleen Martin, executive director of the Canadian Sea Turtle Network.

The network is a non-profit group that strives to protect and preserve endangered sea turtles.

Martin says Kemp’s ridley turtles are one of the most endangered sea turtles in the world, with a nesting population of only a few thousand.

Born in more southern waters, Nova Scotia is the very northern edge of where the turtles travel when juvenile. Once fully grown the turtles tend to live in the warmer waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Hypothermic and emaciated

The turtle, which has been nicknamed Eric, was extremely hypothermic and emaciated when he was found.

“There’s a special thermometer that’s used to test for hypothermia and the lowest end of it is 60 F. When we tested Eric the first time he wasn’t even on the thermometer, he was lower than that,” said Martin.

“So very cold in the core of his little body.”

The turtle is a little under 26 centimetres long. If he makes it to adulthood he could grow to 60 centimetres.

The little reptile was given the name Eric by staff at Halls Harbour Lobster Pound and Restaurant who found him. But the turtle is too young to determine what sex it is.

Hope Shanks, an administrator at the Lobster Pound, helped find the turtle. She and other workers often clean up the surrounding beach. Earlier this week, she spotted a tote that had washed ashore and asked co-worker Les Roy to remove it.

“When he came back he wasn’t carrying a tote, he was carrying a sea turtle, and we at first thought he was dead. But when Les moved him, he opened his eyes. He was awake but very, very, weak.”

‘A chance at living’

Workers weren’t sure what to do with the turtle so they put him in a holding tank filled with seawater.

Then Shanks took pictures of the turtle and sent them to her boss, who eventually got in touch with the Canadian Sea Turtle Network.

“One of the things I love is that it was just the people at the Lobster Pound doing the right thing,” said Martin. “They patrol the beach to try and clean up debris that they find there. By doing that they are giving this critically endangered species a chance at living.”

The turtle is now in the care of veterinarians with the sea turtle network. Martin says Eric is gradually warming up and has started moving.

“He was swimming around a little bit yesterday afternoon and he was more active than I worried he would be. He was perkier. He’s certainly showing signs of life and a little bit of spunk.”

Still, vets say the turtle has an uphill battle ahead of him and it’s not clear if he will continue to be the only member of his species to survive a trip to Nova Scotia.

Update, from the Canadian Sea Turtle Network, 13 November 2015:

I am sad to report that Eric, the lovely little Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, has died.

He couldn’t overcome the combination of emaciation, pneumonia, and the effects of hypothermia.

He had so many things stacked against him.

We did everything we could to help. Eric was cared for with great skill and extraordinary affection by Dr. Chris Harvey-Clark and his team.

We will now send Eric to Dr. Pierre-Yves Daoust at the University of Prince Edward Island. Pierre-Yves will conduct a necropsy (which is like an autopsy) and that way we will learn if there were any additional complications Eric was dealing with. I’ll let you know what we hear.

I am trying to look on the bright side.

I am reminding myself that we learn something new with every sea turtle—both alive and dead—and that this is extremely important, particularly with endangered species.

New Galapagos giant tortoise species discovery

This video says about itself:

New species of giant tortoise discovered in Galapagos

23 okt. 2015

The new species is named “Chelonoidis donfaustoi” after a retiring park ranger and is also known as the Eastern Santa Cruz tortoise, lives on the eastern side of the island and is genetically different from tortoises on other islands.

From Wildlife Extra:

New species of giant tortoise discovered in the Galapagos Archipelago

Scientists have discovered there are two species of giant tortoises, not just one, living on the island of Santa Cruz in the centre of the Galapagos Archipelago.

There are two populations of giant tortoises on the island: a large population on the west side in an area known as the “Reserve” and another on the lower eastern slopes around a hill named Cerro Fatal. It was previously believed that group of 250 or so giant tortoises living on the east of the island were the same species as those living on the west, but genetic testing have now proved they are two different species.

“This is a small and isolated group of tortoises that never attracted much attention from biologists previously,” said Dr. James Gibbs, from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York. “But we now know that they are as distinct as any species of tortoise in the archipelago. Their discovery and formal description will help these tortoises receive the scientific and management attention they need to fully recover.”

The new species has been named Eastern Santa Cruz Tortoise (Chelonoidis donfaustoi) in honour of a longtime Galapagos National Park ranger who spent decades developing methods still used today for breeding endangered tortoises. His name is Fausto Llerena Sánchez, known to his friends and colleagues as Don Fausto.

Don Fausto dedicated 43 years (1971-2014) to giant tortoise conservation as a park ranger for the Galapagos National Park Directorate. He was the primary caretaker at the Tortoise Breeding and Rearing Center on Santa Cruz, which now bears his name. The restoration of several tortoise populations is due in part to Don Fausto’s dedication and efforts.

“It’s to honour Don Fausto for all his dedication and hard work,” Gibbs said. “He devoted his life to saving many critically endangered tortoises through captive breeding. It isn’t easy to breed tortoises in captivity. He didn’t have many resources or much guidance. He figured it out through patient observation, great creativity and intelligence, and tremendous resourcefulness.”

Giant tortoises have been among the most devastated of all Galapagos creatures because of human exploitation, introduced species and habitat degradation. The Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative is a collaborative project of the Galapagos National Park Directorate, Galapagos Conservancy, Caccone’s group at Yale University and others that works toward the long-term restoration of all Galapagos tortoise populations.

Baby Tortoises Show Up In The Galapagos Islands For The First Time In 100 Years. Read more here.

Baby turtle leaves nest, video

This 18 October 2015 video from Florida in the USA is called Sea Turtle Hatchling Leaves the Nest.

Mammal, reptile research on Caribbean Sint Eustatius island

This video says about itself:

Green Turtle Tracking. St. Eustatius

12 May 2012

This program is brought to you by GEBE and the Barson Foundation.

Working together with St. Eustatius Stenapa to protect and study the movements of Green Turtles at Zeelandia Beach. Satellite device attached in order to track the almost extinct Green Turtle population.

The Dutch mammal society reports today there will be new research about mammals of Sint Eustatius island in the Caribbean. Much is still unknown about this.

The researchers hope to find out which bat species live on the island. Some bats will be provided with transmitters to find out more about their lives.

As far as people know, there are no native rodent species on Sint Eustatius. The researchers hope to find out which exotic rat and mice species, brought by ships, live here. Camera traps will also try to record other introduced species, like goats and mongoose.

The research will be from 2 October-18 October.

A blog about earlier biological research on Sint Eustatius is here.

Conservation of the herpetofauna on the Dutch Windward Islands: St. Eustatius, Saba, and St. Maarten: here.

Reptiles and amphibians in the botanical garden

Eastern collared lizard, 7 September 2015

This photo shows an eastern collared lizard, a species originally from North America. We saw this individual on 7 September 2015, at the big AquaHortus exhibition of aquariums and terrariums. Again, all photos in this blog post are macro lens photos.

There were quite some frogs in the terrariums in the botanical garden entrance building, including Dendrobates tinctorius, and Lepidobatrachus laevis.

Eastern collared lizard, on 7 September 2015

One story higher was a terrarium with three eastern collared lizards.

And a terrarium with a central bearded dragon from Australia.

Indian star tortoise, 7 September 2015

We continued to a hothouse. Near the entrance, a terrarium with this young Indian star tortoise.

Nearby, some relatives: Hermann’s tortoise; European pond turtle; red-bellied short-necked turtle; and leopard tortoise.

Also in this hothouse, colourful amphibians. Including oriental fire-bellied toad.

And spot-legged poison frog. Not far from a panther chameleon terrarium.

Mission golden-eyed tree frog, 7 September 2015

Also, a terrarium with some Mission golden-eyed tree frogs.

Dutch Orchid Society terrarium

The Dutch Orchid Society had a terrarium of its own at the exhibition.

Poison dart frog, 7 September 2015

It contained not only various orchid species, but also a few poison dart frogs, like this one.

Stay tuned, as there will be another blog post, about botanical garden plants.

Loggerhead turtle beached in the Netherlands

This video says about itself:

Loggerhead Sea Turtle Hatchling Rescue

23 July 2014

Words cannot describe…

I came across some baby sea turtle tracks one morning at the refuge and noticed many of the tracks went up into the dune instead of directly to the water. A quick search revealed several hatchlings floundering in the dune vegetation.

As the acting refuge biologist, I am permitted to handle these protected turtles for purpose of rescue. This was an amazing opportunity for me to examine these amazing creatures up close and personal, a rare and priceless occurrence.

These animals are protected, please do not approach them in the wild.

Music by Dan-O at DanoSongs.com

Translated from the Dutch RAVON herpetologists:

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Recently a loggerhead turtle washed ashore at the Hondsbossche seawall near Camperduin. This year already two loggerheads washed up on our beaches. Up to now, this is the tenth individual ever found in the Netherlands. …

On July 27 Ber van Perlo while watching birds found a dead turtle on the beach at the Hondsbossche seawall near Camperduin and De Putten. It was a not yet adult loggerhead (Caretta caretta) with an estimated carapace length of 55 to 60 centimeters. Adult specimens have a carapace length of 83 to 124 centimeters. …

That a loggerhead turtle washed ashore in the Netherlands is very special! The first documentation of a loggerhead in the Netherlands was in 1707. This is the 10th individual:

1707 Wijkmeer, Beverwijk (IJmuiden)
1894 Ouddorp, Goeree-Overflakkee
1927 Scheveningen
1954 Noordwijk
1959 Noordwijk
1998 Flushing
2007 Vlieland
2008 Groote Keeten
2015 Katwijk
2015 Hondsbossche Zeewering, Petten

Swimming with snapping turtles, video

This video from Canada says about itself:

15 July 2015

Swimming with large snapping turtles in Parry Sound. When approached slowly, these creatures don’t show any aggression and almost no fear. These two were looking for food and checking out the camera as I swam around with them for hours.