Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘sea turtle’

Photo: Reuters Marketplace/UK World Online Report.
Endangered Green Sea Turtles are placed in bins and kiddie pools to help them warm up gradually.

Sometimes a crisis can bring out the best in human nature. Consider all the people making food for health-care workers in the pandemic or the volunteers manning pantries for 2020’s many unemployed.

This morning, as I was reading about the failure of the Texas electric grid, I learned that one supermarket, having suddenly lost power, couldn’t operate cash registers and let customers go home without paying.

Meanwhile, Texas nature lovers, despite hardships of their own, are rescuing sea turtles from the extreme cold. Many thanks to Hannah for pointing me to the story.

Raechel Allen reports at Slate, “An unprecedented winter storm provoked massive disruption in Texas this week: Millions lost power, hundreds were displaced from homes. [And] because of the temperature, thousands and thousands of sea turtles cannot move.

“An endangered species, these sea turtles usually live off the waters of South Padre Island, which is off the southern coast of Texas. Over the past week, they’ve been loaded into dinner cruise boats and minivans. The rescue center at the nonprofit Sea Turtle Inc. is used to rehabilitating injured sea turtles and responding to minor cold snaps but cannot hold all the turtles — so they’re also filling up a convention center. … Slate spoke to Wendy Knight, Sea Turtle Inc.’s executive director. Our conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Rachael Allen: Can you walk me through what’s been going on this week with the turtles?
Wendy Knight: We are in the midst of the single largest cold-stun event in history. We have approximately 4,800 cold-stunned, federally protected, endangered sea turtles. … On Sunday things really started to hype up and we had local boat owners go out and find hundreds of floating sea turtles.

“What does it mean for a sea turtle to be cold-stunned?
“Sea turtles are cold-blooded so they need the temperature of water to regulate their own body temperature. … If the water gets below a certain temperature, the turtles are no longer able to sustain their own body temperature. Usually, they don’t think about all of their instincts — moving their flippers to swim, eating, diving to the bottom of the ocean, lifting their head up to draw breath. In a cold-stun event, they’re still aware they need to do those things, but because their body is frozen, or cold-stunned, it’s is not reacting to the instinct message. As a result they’re not able to swim, so the turtle floats to the top of the water and because their body is not responding by lifting their head to breathe, they drown in the ocean. I’m sure as we get farther away from the stun event, there will be perished turtles found, regardless of our best efforts.

“How did your team rescue thousands of turtles?
“This is a nesting beach where thousands and thousands of hatchlings are born each season, so everybody is keenly aware that we’re sharing space with sea turtles. We have almost 500 registered volunteers, plus all the city employees, who participate in training at the beginning of cold-stun season. That plan was executed here, just on a much bigger scale.

It’s important to remember that when all this was happening these hundreds of community members didn’t have power of their own. They hadn’t had electricity or running water in days. …

“They had their own personal tragedy happening. And despite that, they took time away to serve an animal that can’t serve itself.

“I can’t explain what it’s like to stand in a convention center that’s probably a football field and a half, and see 4,200 sea turtles laying tip to toe as far as the eye can see. And that’s not even all of them — that’s the overflow. … Nothing happens when they’re stunned — no bodily functions. It’s like a catatonic state. The best thing you can do is to let them rest. As things go along, they will start to wake up, but there are consequences that can come from cold stuns that require antibiotics and IV therapy, like pneumonia. We’ll watch them all closely, and as they recover and become more alert, we’ll start releasing them incrementally back into the Gulf of Mexico.”

I shouldn’t overlook the fact that there are people who volunteer year-round. Which is just to say that it doesn’t always take a crisis to bring out the best in human nature. More at Slate, here.

Read Full Post »


Photo: We Believers

Here’s some good news from Elyse Wanshel at the Huffington Post. It seems that there is an alternative to the plastic six-pack rings that endanger sea turtles and other marine life when trash gets into the ocean.

Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach, Florida, has created edible six-pack rings that feed, rather than kill, marine life if the rings end up in the ocean and an animal happens to eat it. The rings are created from beer by-products during the brewing process such as barley and wheat and are completely safe for humans and fish to eat. The rings are also 100 percent biodegradable and compostable, which just ups the product’s sustainability game. …

“The only drawback is that edible six-pack rings are more expensive to produce. But the company hopes that customers will be willing to pay a little more in order to help the environment and animal life. …

“The Ocean Conservancy’s 2015 Ocean Trash Index — which enlisted 561,895 volunteers to pick up 16,186,759 pounds of garbage — also offers a few staggering facts. It cites plastic as among the most common trash item ingested by sea turtles in 2015. Volunteers found 57 marine mammals, 440 fish and 22 sharks, skates and sting rays entangled in plastic. The index also explains that littering isn’t the sole culprit for plastic in the ocean. Plastic can also be blown by the wind from a trashcan or dump, end up in a storm drain and then travel through pipes into the ocean. Facts like these makes a concept like edible six-pack rings seem vital.

“ ‘We hope to influence the big guys,’ Chris Goves, Saltwater Brewery’s president, said. ‘And hopefully inspire them to get on board.’ ” More here.

If more breweries join up, the cost to create the rings would go down. Sounds like a worthy idea for a little consumer pressure.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: