Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tropical Storm Fay's Impact on Sea Turtles

Interesting and reassuring news from the Caribbean Conservation Corporation folks today regarding the impact of storms on sea turtles.
After being released on August 1st from the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge in Melbourne, Lumiere, a loggerhead sea turtle, began heading south along Florida's east coast. Having traveled about 282 km, or 175 mi, she is now close to the Florida Keys in the middle of the storm. Millana, a leatherback sea turtle, was fitted with a satellite transmitter on the Caribbean coast of Panama in late June. Since the start of the marathon, she has traveled north 201 km, or 125 mi, into the Gulf of Mexico, just off Florida's west coast, in search of her favorite meal, jellyfish. "Although active sea turtles swim to the ocean's surface every few minutes to breathe," said David Godfrey, executive director of Caribbean Conservation Corporation, "we expect that these wise mariners will weather the storm safely." Sea turtle scientists speculate that inactive sea turtles can stay underwater for at least two hours without surfacing for air. This ability can prove to be invaluable during bad weather, helping to safeguard sea turtles from the worst of any storm. While sea turtles face many threats to their survival, they have lived for millions of years, dealing with tropical storms and hurricanes for much longer than humans. Their continued survival is a great indication that Lumiere and Millana will carry on their marathon migrations uninterrupted. It will be interesting to see if Tropical Storm Fay will slow their travels, at least for a couple of days. To track the turtles in the path of the storm, visit www.tourdeturtles.org.

Our Belle o' Brevard followed a more typical Floridian route and headed north for the rest of the summer! She is now in third place, somewhere around Charleston, SC.

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