Saving Philippine hawksbill turtles


This 1 April 2020 video says about itself:

Saving Sea Turtles: Philippine community protects hawksbill sea turtle eggs

Hawksbill sea turtles are a critically endangered species of sea turtle. And in the coastal village of Candiis in the Philippines, communities are hard at work trying to protect their nesting grounds — even though they don’t have much resources themselves. Members of the community patrol the nest sites and build fences to protect the eggs from stray dogs.

But sea turtle conservation is becoming a bigger challenge. Construction and rising sea levels are wiping away nesting grounds. Still, the community in Candiis is determined to protect what little nesting grounds remain.

Read more here.

Galapagos tortoises video


This 29 March 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Home Safari – Galapagos Tortoise – Cincinnati Zoo

Welcome back to our Home Safari! We are going to be taking things slow today with one of the longest-lived animal on earth – the Galapagos tortoise!

Florida, USA turtles threatened by climate change


This 27 February 2013 video from the USA says about itself:

Park rangers release rehabilitated juvenile loggerhead turtles at Cape Canaveral Seashore immediately adjacent to NASA‘s Kennedy Space Center. I got to help since I happened upon the event during a beach stroll.

From the University of Central Florida in the USA:

Sea level rise impacts to Canaveral sea turtle nests will be substantial

March 4, 2020

Sea level rise and hurricanes are a threat to sea turtle nesting habitat along national seashores in the Southeast, but a new study predicts the greatest impact to turtles will be at Canaveral National Seashore.

The University of Central Florida-led study, which was published recently in the journal Ecological Applications, examined loggerhead and green sea turtle nests to predict the amount of beach habitat loss at Canaveral, Cumberland Island, Cape Lookout, and Cape Hatteras national seashores by the year 2100. Sea turtles help maintain the coastal ecosystem and are indicators for the health of sandy beaches.

When comparing sea turtle nesting density with predicted beach loss at the sites, they found nesting habitat loss would not be equal. The researchers predicted that by 2100, Canaveral would lose about 1 percent of its loggerhead habitat, while the three other seashores will lose between approximately 2.5 to 6.7 percent each.

Although Canaveral’s percentage loss is smaller, the impact at this national seashore will be greater because of its nesting density.

“Canaveral is part of the core loggerhead nesting area for the Southeast,” says Marta Lyons, a preeminent postdoctoral fellow in UCF’s Department of Biology and the study’s lead author. “The nests are already pretty well packed in there, so even a small loss of area can have a big impact on nesting sea turtle populations.”

To determine beach loss at the study sites, the researchers used sea level rise and storm surge estimates and considered the effects of impervious structures along the shorelines, such as roads and buildings, in restricting natural beach movement. To do this, they developed a new method to calculate current and future sea turtle nesting areas that takes into account nesting data, beach length and width, and the impact of impervious surfaces.

Lyons says one of the goals was to create digital maps for the National Park Service to understand how sea turtle nesting areas will change with sea level rise and how resources could be managed.

“As the National Park Service thinks about future developments, whether that’s putting in a new lifeguard station or new bathrooms, this method of calculating current and future sea turtle nesting area can help them decide where to put them,” she says.

Sea turtles around the world are threatened by marine plastic debris, mostly through ingestion and entanglement. Now, researchers have new evidence to explain why all that plastic is so dangerous for the turtles: they mistake the scent of stinky plastic for food: here.

Giant extinct freshwater turtles discovered


This 13 February 2020 video says about itself:

Stupendemys geographicus – the largest freshwater turtle

Researchers discovered new Stupendemys geographicus specimens in the Urumaco Formation, Venezuela, and La Tatacoa Desert in Colombia. The new specimens revealed that the shell of male Stupendemys had horns. Researchers estimate that the CIAAP-2002-01 specimen had a body mass between 871 kg and 1145 kg. According to palaeontologist Marcelo Sánchez: “The carapace of some Stupendemys individuals reached almost three meters, making it one of the largest, if not the largest turtle that ever existed”.

From the University of Zurich in Switzerland:

Extinct giant turtle had horned shell of up to three meters

February 12, 2020

Summary: Paleobiologists have discovered exceptional specimens in Venezuela and Colombia of an extinct giant freshwater turtle called Stupendemys. The carapace of this turtle, which is the largest ever known, measured between 2.4 to almost 3 meters. Moreover, the shell of male Stupendemys had horns – a rare feature in turtles.

The tropical region of South America is one of the world’s hot spots when it comes to animal diversity. The region’s extinct fauna is unique, as documented by fossils of giant rodents and crocodylians -including crocodiles, alligators, caimans and gavials — that inhabited what is today a desert area in Venezuela. Five to ten million years ago, this was a humid swampy region teeming with life. One of its inhabitants was Stupendemys geographicus, a turtle species first described in the mid-1970s.

Giant turtle 100 times heavier than its closest relative

Researchers of the University of Zurich (UZH) and fellow researchers from Colombia, Venezuela, and Brazil have now reported exceptional specimens of the extinct turtle recently found in new locations across Venezuela and Colombia. “The carapace of some Stupendemys individuals reached almost three meters, making it one of the largest, if not the largest turtle that ever existed,” says Marcelo Sánchez, director of the Paleontological Institute and Museum of UZH and head of the study. The turtle had an estimated body mass of 1,145 kg — almost one hundred times that of its closest living relative, the big-headed Amazon river turtle.

Males carried horns on their carapace

In some individuals, the complete carapace showed a peculiar and unexpected feature: horns. “The two shell types indicate that two sexes of Stupendemys existed — males with horned shells, and females with hornless shells,” concludes Sánchez. According to the paleobiologist, this is the first time that sexual dimorphism in the form of horned shells has been reported for any of the side-necked turtles, one of the two major groups of turtles worldwide.

Despite its tremendous size, the turtle had natural enemies. In many areas, the occurrence of Stupendemys coincides with Purussaurus, the largest caimans. This was most likely a predator of the giant turtle, given not only its size and dietary preferences, but also as inferred by bite marks and punctured bones in fossil carapaces of Stupendemys.

Turtle phylogeny thoroughly revised

Since the scientists also discovered jaws and other skeleton parts of Stupendemys, they were able to thoroughly revise the evolutionary relationships of this species within the turtle tree of life. “Based on studies of the turtle anatomy, we now know that some living turtles from the Amazon region are the closest living relatives,” says Sánchez. Furthermore, the new discoveries and the investigation of existing fossils from Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela indicate a much wider geographic distribution of Stupendemys than previously assumed. The animal lived across the whole of the northern part of South America.