Sunday, June 30, 2013

Good news for sea turtles


A hopeful story in our local newspaper, Florida Today, tells us that we're on track for a record sea turtle nesting season here in Brevard County.  The story notes "By dawn Thursday, biologists had counted 235 green sea turtle nests along the 13-mile stretch of Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge. That nearly doubled the previous record for the endangered species — 122 nests in 2011 — ever recorded there in one night."  Dr. Lew Ehrhardt, a marine turtle biologist and professor emeritus at University of Central Florida and longtime dean of sea turtles, said “It’s hard for me to express in words how incredible that is ” and estimates over 2,100 green sea turtle nests at the refuge this year, with plenty of time left in the season.

The above photo is one of Jim Angy's and shows a green turtle covering the eggs she has just deposited (probably about 100 eggs). 

Green turtles grow to about 4 feet long and 400 pounds.  They are vegetarians, which tints their meat green - hence the name.  In this photo, also by Jim Angy, the lady is returning to the ocean. 




 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Happy Birthday, Dr. Carr!

Tomorrow is World Sea Turtle Day, named in honor of the birthday of Dr. Archie Carr, the father of modern sea turtle biology. Locally, Titusville is throwing its third annual Titusville Sea Turtle Festival.  The Sea Turtle Conservancy is hosting events at the Barrier Island Center, and the Sea Turtle Preservation Society is holding an open house with numerous activities on tap.

This is my favorite photo of Archie Carr - he and some of his students attaching balloons to sea turtles so they could track their ocean travels (photo courtesy of Sea Turtle Conservancy). See my 2009 post about this at http://www.spacecoastbeachbuzz.com/2009/06/tracking-sea-turtles-now-and-then.html


The Sea Turtle Conservancy newsletter provided this excellent background information:

"A renowned herpetologist, naturalist and professor of zoology at the University of Florida, Dr. Carr is perhaps best known to the public as the author of eloquent books about sea turtles and the tropics. For those familiar with sea turtle research and conservation, Dr. Carr is revered for his scientific contributions and vision. He was passionate about sea turtles, and his enthusiasm was contagious. Born in 1909, Dr. Carr spent his career in the Americas where sea turtles were intensely exploited for much of the 20th Century, just as they were in other areas of the world. Dr. Carr left a remarkable legacy of science and conservation, including a program that has safeguarded an imperiled assemblage of nesting green sea turtles in Tortuguero along the wild Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Dr. Carr would be enormously pleased by the ongoing success of green turtles in Tortuguero and closer to home in Florida, where formerly depleted populations of green turtles are nesting in greater numbers each year. He would be excited too by the powerful conservation ethic for sea turtles emerging in much of the world. After decades of conservation, the remarkable resurgence of the Kemp's ridley in the Gulf of Mexico and the hawksbill in the Caribbean, two species in a perilous state at the time of his passing in 1987, are cause for celebration. As envisioned by Dr. Carr, good will and good science are the foundation for preventing the extinction of sea turtles in our modern world, but efforts must be concerted and they must be long-term."

Happy Birthday, Dr. Carr!