Showing posts tagged as "sea turtle"
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The Traveling Turtle Goes on Exhibit!
Remember our traveling turtle? The young endangered loggerhead is now on exhibit in our Open Sea galleries.
The baby turtle weighs 1 pound, 2.5 ounces and is almost 6 inches long. It made a splash even before it arrived at the Aquarium in late December. Then, Curator Steve Vogel and his rare passenger were bumped from their flight to Monterey from North Carolina. After a day’s delay, the pair received the red-carpet treatment flying back to California on US Airways. The sea turtle stayed by Steve’s side in the cabin, and kept warm inside a carrier lying atop a towel covering a hot water bottle.
We shared details and pictures of the entire trip on social media sites, especially Twitter, via the hashtag #TravelingTurtle. As the journey occurred just before Christmas, many people empathized with travel delays and the desire to just go home.
The turtle is on exhibit by itself for now, but will soon be joined by mohara and French grunt fishes. Together, the tropical community exhibit represents species affected by overfishing. Those species of fishes are caught using a trawl, which indiscriminately scrapes sea floors in pursuit of maybe one or two species. As a result, an average of 10 pounds of “bycatch” – including loggerhead sea turtles – dies in pursuit of one pound of fish. (Recently, significant coastal protections for loggerheads were being implemented.)
The turtle will remain at the Aquarium from six to 24 months, depending on its growth rate. Since it will eventually be released back into the wild, aquarists are taking a “hands-off” approach and not hand-feeding it or spending more time with it than necessary. They’ll continue to keep track of the hatchling’s weight through routine exams. Aquarium staff is unsure if it’s male or female. Even experts can’t tell a sea turtle’s gender until it’s around 10 years old.
The turtle is one of nine hatchlings rescued in early 2012 by colleagues with the North Carolina Aquarium. These turtles didn’t make it back to sea with their nest-mates, and were raised at the aquarium. All nine are on loan to aquariums around the country, where they’ll live for up to two years before they’re returned to North Carolina, tagged and released.
Ever run into air travel problems during the holidays? That’s what happened this morning to our loggerhead sea turtle hatchling as Husbandry Curator Steve Vogel prepared to fly back with the turtle from North Carolina.
As you can see in the photo, the turtle passed its pre-flight physical with flying colors at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. But the little guy was denied boarding on his first flight — something to do with regulations about reptiles traveling in the main cabin on commercial flights. (It’s apparently been an issue on some planes.)
Our turtle is safe and in good health. For now, he’s driving back with Steve to the North Carolina aquarium while we work out alternate plans for their trip to Monterey. We’ll let you know as soon as there’s “new” news to share. And you can follow their journey on Twitter at #TravelingTurtle.
We’re optimistic that the hatchling loggerhead will make it home for the holidays.
Sea Turtle Hatchling Heading to Monterey
Can sea turtles fly? Well, a young loggerhead sea turtle similar to the one pictured here will be airborne tomorrow, en route from North Carolina to an exhibit in our Open Sea galleries.
It’s flying coach to Monterey with Curator Steve Vogel. You can follow their progress on Wednesday using the Twitter hashtag #TravelingTurtle.
At the earliest, it could be on exhibit Thursday morning, depending on the outcome of its veterinary exam. (We’ll keep you posted.)
The turtle is one of nine hatchlings rescued earlier this year by our colleagues with the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. These turtles didn’t make it back to sea with their nest-mates, and were hand-raised at the aquarium.
All nine are being loaned out to aquariums around the country, where they’ll live for up to two years before they’re returned to North Carolina, tagged and released to the wild.
Our youngster is just over 4 inches long and weighs less than half a pound. By the time it leaves Monterey, it could be more than a foot long and weigh up to 15 pounds.
We won’t know if it’s a boy or a girl, though. Even experts can’t tell a sea turtle’s gender until it’s around 10 years old.
Look for tomorrow’s updates at #TravelingTurtle, then come check the little guy out for yourself. It will be on the second floor of the Open Sea, near the puffins and other seabirds, in an exhibit that highlights the threats facing sea turtles and other animals from unsustainable fishing practices.
How far do turtles travel? Check it out! The olive ridley sea turtle that beached itself near the Aquarium last year was released off San Diego, and a tracking device indicates that it’s now 800 miles south, heading toward Mazatlan!
California’s new state marine reptile
The endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtle, which makes an epic ocean-crossing journey each year to feast on sea nettle jellies off the California coast, is now the state’s official marine reptile. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the designation into law last week.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium was among the many ocean conservation organizations that supported the designation, introduced by Assemblymember Paul Fong of Mountain View. Fong was also the co-author of Aquarium-sponsored legislation that outlawed the shark fin trade in California.
Leatherback sea turtles are regular visitors to Monterey Bay. (That’s where staff member Alison Barratt took the photo above.) They make a 12,000-mile round trip journey from Indonesia to fatten up on jellies off our coast. Newly published research suggests that sea turtles may be able to sniff out the presence of ocean upwelling, which triggers the jellyfish blooms that turtles find so irresistible.
Unfortunately, longline fishing and development on leatherback nesting beaches have pushed this ancient reptile to the brink of extinction. We’re hoping its new status will bring attention to the threats facing leatherbacks and other sea turtles – and spark greater support for global conservation efforts.
That way, perhaps the leatherback will enjoy a better fate than the California grizzly bear, which survives only on the state flag. (Leatherback flag ©Oceana)
Starting in 2013, each October 15 is designated as Leatherback Conservation Day, with California schools encouraged to share the leatherback’s story with special activities for students.
Wondering about the olive ridley sea turtle that beached itself in Pacific Grove Wednesday? Check out this slide show of the rescue and behind-the-scenes care at the Aquarium. So far the turtle’s condition is stable, and it’s being kept in a heated holding pool to recover from being “cold-stunned.” The Pacific population of this species is listed as endangered because of disturbance of nesting areas, accidental catch in commercial fishing gear, and human consumption of sea turtle meat and eggs. (Photos courtesy Debra Naeve)
A 72-pound olive ridley sea turtle beached itself in Pacific Grove Wednesday afternoon and is being cared for at the Aquarium until it can be returned to the wild. Likely lured north by warmer-than-usual surface waters, the turtle is being kept behind the scenes in a heated holding pool. It’s only the fourth stranded sea turtle rescued by our staff, and the first since 2005!