The Blog Aquatic » turtle News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:32:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A Victory for Gulf Sea Turtles Mon, 14 Jul 2014 17:32:54 +0000 Kara Lankford

Blair Witherington

Last September, we asked you to help us protect the Gulf’s sea turtles and today, I have some wonderful news to share. Thanks to more than 5,000 of our supporters, 685 miles of beaches and nearly 200,000 square miles of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico have now been declared critical habitat for threatened loggerhead sea turtles. The newly protected areas include floating Sargassum mats, where young sea turtles live and grow.

This victory is an important step toward a fully restored Gulf. During the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, tens of thousands of sea turtles were located in the coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico where oil accumulated at the surface. The BP oil disaster started during sea turtle nesting season, and as millions of barrels of oil bubbled up from the seafloor that summer, loggerhead sea turtles were returning to the Gulf Coast to lay their eggs. Almost 300 sea turtle nests had to be relocated from the Gulf Coast to the Atlantic Coast in 2010, in order for the young turtles to have a better chance at survival. This meant over 14,000 loggerhead sea turtles hatched along Atlantic Coast instead of their home beaches in the Gulf.

Several other environmental organizations, including the Center for Biological Diversity, Turtle Island Restoration Network and Oceana played a key role in this victory. These groups took legal action, which forced the National Marine Fisheries Service to act.

Victories like this one inspire me to continue working towards a healthy Gulf. It proves that decision-makers are listening and it reminds me that together, we have the power to make a difference for the Gulf.

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How to Help Save Sea Turtles on World Turtle Day Wed, 23 May 2012 19:54:34 +0000 Guest Blogger

Credit: NOAA

This is a guest post from our intern, Katie Tehan.

Happy World Turtle Day! 

In honor of the special day, I thought it might be fitting to celebrate one of our world’s oldest creatures. If you’ve ever had the fortune of seeing a sea turtle in its natural habitat, then you will understand why it is important that we stick our necks out to protect them.

It was not until after I got the chance to volunteer in a sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation center in Topsail, North Carolina that the severity of the risks facing them became a reality for me.

The hospital is run completely on a volunteer basis, and at the time was nursing 26 sea turtles that had been victims of hypothermia, pneumonia, bycatch, shark attacks, or boating incidents. One sea turtle in particular, named Riptide, swallowed a large fishing hook, which was trapped in his throat, making it impossible to eat. After surgery, Riptide made a full recovery and was released. Sadly, many of the other sea turtles at the hospital would not be able to survive in the ocean, and will spend the rest of their lives in tanks.

Did you know global warming greatly impacts sea turtle development? Studies show that global warming has resulted in decreased hatching rates, and could possibly lead to complete nest failure. And here’s an interesting fact: Increased sand temperatures alter the natural sex ratio of sea turtles, creating more females. In addition, young sea turtles rely on currents to locate prey, but climate change has begun to influence migratory species adding difficulty to their survival. Birds, ghost crabs, and fish are just a few of the predators newly born sea turtles face which is why some scientists estimate only one hatchling out of 1,000 will make it to adulthood.

As summer approaches, sea turtles begin making nests on various beaches throughout the world. As a part of the upcoming nesting season, it is important that we make an effort to keep our coasts clean and protect the fragile nests. You can join the effort to protect sea turtles by always picking up your trash before leaving the beach and turning off beachfront lighting that can interfere with the sea turtles’ path toward the natural light of the ocean horizon. Go even further by taking Ocean Conservancy’s 30 Day Trash-Free Challenge to help us stop trash before it starts.

If you’re interested in volunteering for a sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation center, learn more here.

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Wallpaper Wednesday – Mother’s Day Wed, 09 May 2012 19:44:31 +0000 Guest Blogger Mother’s Day is this Sunday. Why not get into the spirit early with one of our Mother’s Day-themed smartphone backgrounds? Grab one below or check out the whole collection.

Kissing Seals

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Fish Underwater

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Seeing Double

Download Wallpaper

What other critters would you like to see crawling across your phone? Leave us a comment and we’ll do our best to bring them to you next Wallpaper Wednesday.

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