Brace Yourselves, We’ve Got New Victories for Sea Turtles

You’re probably wondering what you can do with those old or wrong-sized bras. There are ways to repurpose them, but hear this, your used bras can save the lives of turtles. Yep. there’s an animal rescue group in North Carolina that will take your wrong-sized or old bras and use them for the greater good.

How can bras help turtles? Well, to be honest, it’s not the whole bra. Carolina Waterfowl Rescue take your used bras, take off the clasps, and use them to weld turtles’ cracked shells back together. The group’s director, Jennifer Gordon compares this unconventional method of repair to casting a broken bone.

So here’s how it works. The staff glues cracked shells and holds them together with wire, which is hooked to the bra clasp so that it stay put. It’s just that simple.

Carolina Waterfowl Rescue doesn’t actually rescue turtles only. The group also rescues pigs, owls, and possums. It’s just that turtles are the group’s most frequent patients. The team treats anywhere from three to 40 turtles a week, depending on the season.

In spring, turtle injury rates increase a lot because they’re driven from lakes and ponds to shorelines where they lay their eggs or when it rains (because the turtles’ homes get all flooded). This makes them more susceptible to their most common predators, which are cars. The turtles the group treats are usually struck while crossing the street, she said, but others are run over by lawn mowers or chewed by dogs.

The volunteer rescue treats turtles as big as 14-inch snapping turtles and as small as silver dollar-sized eastern box turtles. These turtles spend anywhere between three to eight weeks in rehab until their shells have fully healed. When it happens, the group releases them back to the wild with no trace of bra clasps at all.

Read also: We are Getting Closer to Saving Sea Turtle Population With This Device

Other good news about sea turtles

loggerhead sea turtle by Sylke Rohrlach Wikimedia Commons
loggerhead sea turtle by Sylke Rohrlach Wikimedia Commons

Using bra clasps to heal turtles’ shell isn’t the only good news you’re going to know. North and South Carolina and Georgia found out that the threatened giant loggerhead sea turtles have broken nesting records this summer. According to The Associated Press, scientists are crediting this increase to conservation measures that were implemented more than 30 years ago.

Mark Dodd, a biologist who’s also the head of Georgia’s sea turtle recovery program said that the conservative measures include the state closely monitoring and protecting sea turtle nests and a mandate requiring shrimp boats to equip their nets with escape hatches.

There are 3,500 loggerhead nests which have been recorded on Georgia’s beaches. The previous record for the state was 3,289 documented in 2016. Dodd said to expects the final count will likely reach 4,000 nests by the end of August.

Sea turtles usually nest from May to August. Those loggerheads come all the way from the Atlantic Ocean and lay around 100 small eggs per nest.

Joe Nairn, a professor from University of Georgia who studies adult female turtles said, “My laboratory is almost floor-to-ceiling in samples right now. It’s pretty obvious to us that this is a big year.”

Those three states from the USA aren’t the only places with a nesting increase. Florida’s Boca Grande Sea Turtle Association patrol members are happy to report that there are 15 documented green sea turtle nests so far this nesting season.

loggerhead sea turtle by ukanda Wikimedia Commons
loggerhead sea turtle by ukanda Wikimedia Commons

“This is exciting news. Last season we had only two Green turtle nests, so we are trending ahead significantly this year,” said Board member Mel Csank. Before this happened, Boca Grande Sea Turtle Association had a beach renourishment project. The sand in that area was tilled to soften it, making it easier for turtles to nest.

So far, patrol volunteers have recorded 429 nests (12 green and the rest loggerhead). There are 554 false crawls because of beach renourishment projects. False crawl is a term used when a turtle makes its way onto the beach, but doesn’t produce a nest. There were 20 relocated nests due to the renourishment project.

Csank said, “Two of the relocated nests have successfully hatched, one with 100 percent success, the other with 98 percent success. The other thing is that we’ve had three new green nests in less than one week – that brings the total up to 15, which is 13 more than last year and there’s still time for more. In 2017 we had a total of 18 green nests, but in 2018 we only had two.”

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, green sea turtles are threatened in both land and water and they’re protected under the Endangered Species Act. Their distinctive crawl and nest that looks like a bomb crater is far more rare on Gasparilla island than the Loggerhead.

Since nesting season is still ongoing, volunteers keep reminding us to be aware of our surroundings when we visit beaches. We should try to cover up holes, knock down sand castles when visiting the beach, dispose of any trash, and shine no lights at night.

Read also: How Plastics Affect Sea Turtles’ Lives – They Need Our Help

Turtles in Southeast Asia

Leahterback sea turtle by Kingdom Wikimedia Commons
Leahterback sea turtle by Kingdom Wikimedia Commons

Although this one isn’t exactly good news, but it’s heading that way. The Terengganu Fisheries Department has proposed to buy leatherback sea turtle eggs from overseas for incubation and release into its waters to increase the population of this species in the state.

Zawawi Ali, the department director, said the department can get turtle eggs from Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. The proposal will be reviewed in a special seminar that will gather scientists and turtle-related experts in October.

“If they agree to the proposal, we will seek cooperation from the state government to implement it,” said the director after officiating the release of 1,684 hatchlings at The Qamar Resort, Paka. Around 3,000 residents from around Paka were present to witness the release of the hatchlings.

The Terengganu Fisheries Department recorded the landing of the leatherback turtle in Terengganu in 2017 after its last landing seven years earlier. Zawawi said Terengganu beaches were once popular landing spots for four of the seven species of turtles in the world, which are Leatherback, Olive Ridley, Hawksbill and Green sea turtles.

The department is worried because Leatherback and Olive Ridley turtles had not come ashore to lay their eggs for a while now. Ali said that there was no Olive Ridley turtle landing on Terengganu beaches since 2003.

“The Leatherback also has not landed in Terengganu for a long time. The last landing was in 2010. However, at the end of 2017, we found 92 Leatherback turtle eggs at Pantai Rhu Cikgu area near Rantau Abang in Dungun but the eggs never hatched,” said the director. Ali added that the number of Hawksbill and Green sea turtles landing in Terengganu also showed a decline compared to 10 years ago

Well, let’s all hope that their conservation attempt would result in something desirable for the environment.

Read also: Why Do We Need Biodiversity? Why Is It Important?




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