Noah’s Ark, 2010 style; When they absolutely positively need to be there overnight

12 Jul 2010

The Federal Government has announced that it is implementing, with help from FedEx using specialized equipment (gratis) and NASA, a plan to relocate thousands of loggerhead turtle eggs from the gulf coast, out of the way of the BP spill, to Florida’s Atlantic coast.

This February, my family and I were in Florida and we went to the Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach.  We saw turtle eggs, hatchlings and larger, more mature turtles getting care for various injuries. Other than that visit, the only thing this Michigander knows about loggerheads is what I learned from a book my eight year old and I have read many times called “One Tiny Turtle.”

These turtles live very solitary lives and typically only are seen on shore twice in their lives – when they are hatched from eggs (and fewer than 1 in 100 hatchlings make it to the water) and then roughly 30 years later when the mothers come ashore to lay new eggs. Therefore, very little is known about their lives in the wild.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, which came up with this idea, and all those participating do not know what will happen to these turtle eggs and if any of them hatch, what will happen to the turtles. They don’t know whether they will return to the place they hatch or back to their ancestral homes on the gulf coast.  This is one big ad hoc experiment. But we know one thing for certain, if these eggs were not moved, when the turtles hatched, the babies would swim directly into the oil spill.  I for one applaud the creativity and initiative of the NFWF, US Fish and Wildlife Service, FedEx, NASA and everyone else involved.  Hopefully, this will help preserve this amazing and endangered species. I wonder how many more species relocation programs the BP spill will spawn.

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