The nesting season for sea turtles began in the U.S. on March 1
Leatherbacks are the first to lay eggs along Florida’s Atlantic coast, followed by loggerheads and green sea turtles, pictured here, later this spring. Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is one of several wildlife refuges where the endangered green sea turtle (pictured) is found:
A boater saw a loggerhead turtle floating abnormally with the left side substantially more buoyant than the right, preventing it from staying submerged for extended periods. The concerned boater called us and remained with the turtle until our officers could arrive. FWC sea turtle biologists rescued the loggerhead from the Intracoastal Waterway in southern Martin County with substantial assistance from the officers. Loggerheads are among the larger sea turtles; adults weigh an average of 275 pounds and have a shell length of about 3 feet. We hope the rescued reptile will be released after successful rehabilitation!
Please report stranded, injured or dead sea turtles to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) or #FWC or *FWC on a cell phone.
Florida residents can help support sea turtle research and response efforts by purchasing a sea turtle license plate at BuyaPlate.com or through a local tax collector.
The recent cold weather is taking a toll on endangered green sea turtles, which have reappeared in the Galveston Island region only in the last five years.
At least 184 cold-stunned green turtles have been discovered along the Texas Gulf Coast since Nov. 25, said Donna Shaver, chief of the National Park Service’s sea turtle science and recovery division at Padre Island National Seashore.
At least 30 were found Tuesday by 5:30 p.m. and more were expected. Search teams found 34 Monday and 40 Sunday. Shaver on Tuesday was trying to verify reports of 20 others found dead.
Of the verified total, 164 survived because they were warmed and rehabilitated, which Shaver called “a really high success rate.” She expected the number to rise over the next two days as cold weather continues.
At least six were recovered in the Galveston area and saved from near certain death by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Laboratory at Fort Crockett on Galveston Island. The cold stunning this year is more deadly because of the persistent overcast skies that prevent floating turtles from being kept alive by the warming rays of the sun, said Ben Higgins, sea turtle program manager at the NOAA lab…
Ours will! The young loggerhead sea turtle that’s been displayed in our Open Sea galleries is winging it back to the North Carolina Aquarium right now and will soon be returned to the wild. If all goes well, a new baby sea turtle wil take its place Friday night!
Follow the journey on Twitter at #TravelingTurtle.
Leatherback Sea Turtle No Longer Critically Endangered
by Jeremy Hance
The leatherback sea turtle—the world’s largest turtle and the only member of the genus Dermochelys—received good news today. In an update of the IUCN Red List, the leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) has been moved from Critically Endangered to Vulnerable. However, conservationists warn that the species still remains hugely endangered—and in rapid decline—in many parts of its range.
The new assessment found that the population of leatherback turtles in the northwest Atlantic Ocean (along the US and the Caribbean) is on the road to recover due to conservation actions. While scientists aren’t sure how the southeast Atlantic population (mostly in Gabon) is faring, it remains the world’s largest population.
However, the situation in the Pacific is far more bleak. The east Pacific population has dropped by 97 percent in three leatherback generations, while the west Pacific population has fell by 80 percent during the same period…
Leatherbacks have been viewed as unique among reptiles for their ability to maintain high body temperatures using metabolically generated heat, or endothermy. Initial studies on leatherback metabolic rates found leatherbacks had resting metabolisms around three times higher than expected for a reptile of their size…
Leatherback turtles are one of the deepest diving marine animals. Individuals have been recorded diving to depths as great as 1,280 metres. Typical dive durations are between 3 and 8 minutes, with dives of 30–70 minutes occurring infrequently…
Relatives of modern leatherback turtles have existed in some form since the first true sea turtles evolved over 110 million years ago during the Cretaceous period. The dermochelyids are close relatives of the family Cheloniidae, which contains the other six extant sea turtle species. However, their sister taxon is the extinct family Protostegidae which included other species not having a hard carapace…
Longline fisheries in Costa Rica hook tens of thousands of sea turtles every year
by Julia Calderone
Hundreds of kilometers of commercial fishing lines slither along coastal waters in Costa Rica, hooking thousands of mahi-mahi and many other marketable fish. But when scientists scrutinized fishermen’s catch, they were shocked by the staggering number of sea turtles accidentally snagged on the lines.
A study published Aug. 20 in the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology suggests that longline fisheries in Costa Rica unintentionally caught about 700,000 Olive Ridley turtles as bycatch between 1999 and 2010—the second highest catch after mahi-mahi. Other bycatch included silky sharks, pelagic stingrays and Indo-Pacific sailfish…
During the Cabo Cortés Biological Inventory in Baja California, Mexico, conducted by staff of the Herpetology Dept. at the San Diego Natural History Museum, they got to see the work at the local sea turtle refuge.
They observed newly emerged Pacific Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) andOlive Ridley Sea Turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea). Nests were spotted, protective fencing was put up, and if necessary, nests were relocated.
A loggerhead sea turtle’s nose knows land. Sea turtles can migrate across the ocean and back, but while Earth’s magnetic field plays a role in their navigation, researchers have wondered what other tools turtles use to find safe harbor, particularly at smaller scales.
Loggerheads’ (Caretta caretta) olfactory systems can sense airborne odors, including food—could they sniff out nearby shores as well? To find out, researchers piped the scent of either distilled water or mud from North Carolina’s Sage Bay into the air above a juvenile loggerhead at swim in an arena.
Although largely inhabitants of tropical and subtropical waters, Green Sea Turtles (Chelonia mydas) can sometimes be found as far north as the Alaska and Newfoundland coasts. Breeding only takes place in warmer latitudes, however, and adults may swim very long distances between feeding and nesting grounds, often returning to the very same beach where they hatched.
Individuals may not make their first trip to breeding sites until they reach sexual maturity at 20-50 years old; after that, and for the rest of their 80-100 year lifespan, males may make the trip every year, while females tend to return every 2-4 years.
Away from the nesting islands, juvenile turtles typically inhabit deeper waters and feed mainly on invertebrates, while adults prefer lagoons where they typically browse on seagrass. The name Green Sea Turtle refers not to the color of their skin or shell, but rather to the layer of green fat just under their skin.
Staff at Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, in Virginia, USA, were able to watch as the Virginia Stranding team place a transmitter on a recovered loggerhead sea turtle before he was released and swam away. What a spectacular sight! Head to their Facebook page for more images of this endangered turtle.
An assortment of marine animals and birds reside along the black volcanic sand beaches of Guatemala’s Pacific coast, but lately both residents and visitors on the southeast beaches of the country have observed a tragic event – the stranding of dead sea turtles. Eighty dead sea turtles have been recorded since the first week of July…
A teen is winning admirers for a pictorial of how he saved a stranded leatherback sea turtle. Elias Pereira (aka Saile1234), who posted the photos Tuesday on Imgur, wrote that he and his mother were walking along Grande Riviere Beach in Trinidad when he saw the gigantic creature disoriented in a storm-created body of water…