Thursday, July 1, 2010

About the Turtles

While we witness the Gulf oil disaster, and watch the various entities battle it out- big oil/jobs/environment & who is responsible, the ones that don't have a voice are the wildlife. 

i feel like Dr. Seuss's Lorax, when I ask the question~ who speaks for the Turtles?

All 7 species of marine turtles are listed under the Endangered species act. 

To date, 147 Sea Turtles have been collected live, and sent to rehab, 101 of them found "on-water" adrift & distressed at sea. 
436 Sea Turtles have been collected dead. 

Refuges at Risk

There are 36 National Wildlife Refuges at risk from the BP Oil Spill. These precious national resources are home to dozens of threatened and endangered species, including West Indian manatees, whooping cranes, Mississippi sandhill cranes, wood storks and four species of sea turtles.

Five of the seven species of sea turtles call the Gulf of Mexico home, including the endangered Kemp's Ridley. Every year adult Ridleys migrate from around the Gulf to the sandy beaches of south Texas and northern Mexico. Since the oil disaster, 35 juvenile Kemp's Ridley turtles have washed ashore from Louisiana to Alabama.  This is a difficult year for marine turtles in the Gulf.

Many turtles will have to make their way through the massive BP oil spill. They will be dodging boats and booms, as they try to surface for air without ingesting oil. Beneath the surface chemical dispersants may contaminate or kill their food. Like many other animals they have been known to mistake tar balls for food.

Sea turtles, air-breathing reptiles with streamlined bodies and large flippers, are well adapted to life in the marine environment. They inhabit tropical and subtropical ocean waters throughout the world. Of the seven species of sea turtles, six are found in U.S. waters: green, hawksbill, Kemp's ridley, leatherback, loggerhead, and olive ridley.
Although sea turtles live most of their lives in the ocean, adult females must return to beaches on land to lay their eggs. They often migrate long distances between foraging grounds and nesting beaches.

Species Description
Adult Kemp's ridleys, considered the smallest marine turtle in the world, weigh on average around 100 pounds (45 kg) with a carapace (top shell) measuring between 24-28 inches (60-70 cm) in length. The almost circular carapace has a grayish green color while the plastron (bottom shell) is pale yellowish to cream in color. Each of the front flippers has one claw while the back flippers may have one or two.

Status of Marine Turtles
All 7 species of marine turtles are listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA); 6 of those species fall under the jurisdiction of the NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources. Green turtles and olive ridley turtles have breeding populations that were listed separately under the ESA, and therefore, have more than one ESA status.
(E = "endangered"; T = "threatened"; P = "proposed")
  • Florida & Mexico's Pacific coast breeding colonies
  • all other areas
  • Mediterranean Sea
  • North Indian Ocean
  • North Pacific Ocean
  • Northeast Atlantic Ocean
  • Northwest Atlantic Ocean
  • South Atlantic Ocean
  • South Pacific Ocean
  • Southeast Indo-Pacific Ocean
  • Southwest Indian Ocean
  • Mexico's Pacific coast breeding colonies
  • all other areas

green turtle underwater
Green Turtle
(Chelonia mydas)
Photo: Douglas Shea This link is an external site.

hawksbill turtle underwater
Hawksbill Turtle
(Eretmochelys imbricata)
Photo: Michelle T. Scharer

kemp's ridley turtle hatchling in water
Kemp's Ridley Turtle
(Lepidochelys kempii)
Photo: Kim Bassos-Hull,
Mote Marine Laboratory

leatherback turtle at water's surface
Leatherback turtle
(Dermochelys coriacea)
Photo: Scott R. Benson, NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center

loggerhead turtle underwater
Loggerhead turtle
(Caretta caretta)
Photo: Marco Giuliano/ Fondazione Cetacea

olive ridley turtle underwater
Olive ridley turtle
(Lepidochelys olivacea)
Photo: Michael P. Jensen

Info from the NOAA website


nonnie9999 said...

all the carcasses should be placed in the offices of bp execs (and the a/c turned off) and left there until the spill is cleaned up.

Fran said...

Now there's a memo with the kick, nonnie!

Anonymous said...

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Is this possible?