Sunday, December 19, 2010

Terrific Turtles

· Coastal Awareness, school vacation weeks. The following programs are suitable for children ages 5-11 with adult chaperones:

Terrific Turtles

Children will learn about the turtles that visit the coast of Massachusetts and some of the problems that they face, Thursday, Dec. 30, 2-3 p.m.

Meeting location will be in Revere, MA.

Pre-registration is required.

Contact DCR park ranger Matthew Nash at or 781-485-2804, ext. 105.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Volunteers helping save turtles on Cape Cod

(NECN: Greg Wayland, Eastham, Mass.)

The race is on to save turtles on the coast of Cape Cod.
Every year, volunteers come together to rescue and rehabilitate the animals.

It's been a record year for stranded sea turtles in Massachusetts waters -- 140 and counting, and today they added a few more.

Bill Allan: "We're right about high tide now and what happens, the turtles will come in with the tide and the waves."

We stood above the cold December sea in Eastham, Mass., Bill Allan and I. We'd come to look for sea turtles stranded by the high tide.

Then, like hundreds of volunteers in towns facing Cape Cod Bay, we walked the beach, with extra help from Bill's golden retriever Hunter.

He's good at hunting for those stranded turtles. Every year in November and December, hundreds of them slip into the warm Gulf Stream from Mexico, get carried north to feast on crab in warm Cape waters, then become trapped in the Cape's long curving arm.

We looked along the "rack line" -- that margin of seaweed and flotsam where turtles usually turn-up, cold-stunned and inert from the forty-degree waters.

Wind is always a factor in where turtles will turn up.

"When we get westerly winds, we'll cover from Truro to Brewster. When it's northerly winds it's from Orleans to Barnstable or Sandwich.

"Finally we got word that there was a turtle that had come ashore at Breakwater Beach in Brewster.

"It's a little Kemp's-Ridley."

A young Kemp's-Ridley, the most endangered of the species -- seemingly lifeless, cold-stunned, its heartbeat possibly as low as one beat per minute.

Volunteers had staked it out, protected it with grass and seaweed, even written "turtle" next to it in the sand,
then moved on in search of more turtles.

Bill took it to the Audubon Sanctuary in Wellfleet.

Soon, Sanctuary director Bob Prescott arrived with more. volunteers to help clean, measure and weigh them
and box them for the trip to the New England Aquarium's Quincy sanctuary where they slowly raise their
temperature five degrees a day and revive them.

On the beach, Bill told us he's been doing this rescued work for eight years.

Bill: "And a couple of times I've gotten to release the turtle that I found the prior November. That's a big high."

About a hundred forty have been rescued so far this year -- and still counting.

If you wish to help volunteer, call the Wellfeet Audubon Sanctuary at 508-349-2615.

Source: NECN

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Three-year-old Plymouth boy rescues endangered sea turtle

By Don Lewis aka the Turtle Guy

Late Monday morning, Karen Whalley of Plymouth and her son Teague walked Sagamore Beach on a beautiful sunny day. The seas were calm and the winds gentle. The tide had receded, allowing Karen and Teague to explore the shoreline. As they approached a rock groin, Teague and his mom found a “beautiful” sea turtle unlike anything they had ever seen on the beach before. Not knowing what to do, they returned to their nearby home and searched the internet to find a Cape Cod sea turtle rescuer to call. Google search produced the hotline number for Turtle Journal (508-274-5108). They also found procedures on the site for saving stranded sea turtles.

After calling the Turtle Journal rescue team, Karen and Teague rushed back to the beach. The tide was rising quickly, and they had to plunge into the water to recover the turtle before it was dragged out to sea and condemned to certain death. As they lifted the turtle to the beach, it began to move its flippers, signaling that it was quite alive.

Karen and Teague covered the sea turtle with dry seaweed to prevent hypothermia while they waited for the Turtle Journal team to arrive.

Turtle Journal's Don Lewis and Sue Wieber Nourse examined this juvenile, 2-year-old Kemp’s ridley. Its right eye had been damaged either by scraping against the rocks as it was driven ashore or by predatory gulls. But this little critter proved a survivor and demonstrated its fight for life by trying to “swim” out of Lewis' arms. Even though it was late in the afternoon, Lewis knew that this animal would not survive the night unless it received immediate medical attention. He called the New England Aquarium marine rescue hotline and explained the situation. While they are swamped with nearly a hundred cold-stunned turtles already, and rarely take new patients this late in the day, they generously agreed to accept this Kemp’s ridley. Lewis and Wieber Nourse raced up Route 3 to the new marine rescue facility in Quincy, and the turtle was admitted to the emergency facility by 4:15.

But none of this would have been possible if it were not for a heroic yound lad, Teague Whalley, and his mom Karen.

Don Lewis is executive director of the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Districts; Sue Wieber Nourse is a marine researcher, textbook author and master educator. Known as the Turtle Guy, Don and his spouse and partner, Sue Wieber Nourse, have led research, rescue and conservation activities from the tip of Cape Cod to Mount Hope Bay and around the globe for more than a decade. They own and operate Cape Cod Consultants, an environmental solution company that specializes in wildlife issues and habitat assessments that protect nature while enabling appropriate development. Their nature discoveries are chronicled on Turtle Journal.

Source: CapeCodToday