Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sea Turtle Rescue Efforts

With sea turtle nesting season in full swing, the effort to save the future hatchlings from oil pollution is ratcheting up.  According to this article in a Daytona News Journal rescuers are relocating nests in an attempt to protect them from potential oil pollution .
The massive operation is expected to move some 700 nests this summer, with anywhere from 70 to 135 eggs per nest. The nests are expected to be predominantly loggerheads, with a few Kemp's ridleys and green turtles. Read more...
For more on the background of the rescue efforts and progress to date, here are a few more articles:

From Florida Today
From Summit County Voice
From Universe Today

But not everyone agrees with the strategy of relocating sea turtles. The following is an excerpt from
The relocation of nests either up the beach or into centralized hatcheries is a conservation technique used for reducing threats to eggs and hatchlings of marine turtles. Mortimer (1999) stated that hatcheries should be used as a last option. This is due to the potential negative effects of hatcheries such as sex ratio alteration (Godfrey & Mrosovsky, 1999) or reduction of hatching success relative to natural nests (Limpus et al. 1979; Mortimer 1999). More recently, Mrosovsky (2006) suggested that nest relocation over the long term may distort gene pools.
I'm not a marine biologist and I don't have any scientific training, so I'm not sure I am qualified to make a judgement one way or the other.  The alternative is to do nothing and let nature take its' course.  I'm not sure I agree with that approach.  Even if mortality for the relocated eggs is 80% for the hatchlings, then at least 20% of the hatchlings are given a chance for survival.  The best alternative would have been to NOT have an oil spoil in the first place, but since that ship has sailed I personally think relocating the turtle eggs is worth a try.

To continue reading about the ongoing sea turtle conservation effort, has a lot more information available.

It's not a sea turtle, but I do have this nice picture of a Gopher Tortoise to share.

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