Thursday, February 25, 2010

Rare Loggerhead Turtle visits Parham




Based on observations of video footage aired on ABS Television on Saturday, the "rare turtle" found in Blackman Bay, Parham is most likely an Atlantic Loggerhead (Caretta caretta). The turtle had been found by villagers in about 3 feet of water on Saturday, brought to shore, and later released alive. Loggerheads are indeed rarely seen around Antigua and Barbuda, although there are occasional sightings of the species at sea. Unlike other turtle species including Hawksbills, Green, and Leatherback turtles, Loggerheads are not known to nest on Antigua's beaches. Loggerheads do use the area however for feeding, and the large and powerful jaws allow them to feed on hard shelled animals such as whelks and conch. Typically, loggerheads reach sexual maturity at 35 years old, when they average about 250 lbs. This suggests that the turtle found on Saturday was in the pre-adult stage. Once maturity is reached the turtles will usually make migrations, often crossing the open ocean to reach nesting beaches (often the same beach they were born on). Loggerheads nest mainly in the northern Caribbean (Bahamas, Cuba) and north eastern coast of the United States.

All species of sea turtles found in the Caribbean are endangered, due to serious threats from pollution, entanglement in fishing gear, over-harvesting and loss of nesting and feeding habitats. The actions of Robert Young (aka Bubbler) and others in the Parham community on Saturday to protect and release the rare sea turtle are exemplary and absolutely essential for the survival of turtle populations. If all communities around the island adopted the attitude of Bubbler to "look after these animals", then sea turtles may be around for years to come.



4 comments:

Mike Cavaliere said...

Hey there, love the site!

I came across you guys when I was researching for a book I was writing on sea turtles and a local band of conservationists in my hometown of Volusia/Flagler, Florida. The group is called the Turtle Patrol, and they're this incredibly passionate group like you guys who, simply, *love* turtles. It's pretty fascinating, actually, the lengths at which we all go for our passions, and how, in my region anyway, many over the years have managed to make their names somehow synonymous with a species who only shows its face around here a relatively tiny span of time in the year--and under the cover of darkness, no less!

Anyway, I don't want to get carried away or write some kind of pitch here. I just wanted to contact you guys to let you know what we were doing, and hopefully you'd want to relay the information to your readers.

Living in (and writing about) Florida, we don't see too many hawksbills, but the book does have a section on them. Really, though, it's almost more about the people who fight for the turtles, anyway. We wanted to highlight that in our local Turtle Patrol in hopes that it would reflect the greater global initiative.

The book is called "Tracks in the Sand: Sea Turtles and Their Protectors." Please check it out on our website (http://oceanpublishing.org/tracks-in-the-sand.html), or on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Tracks-Sand-Turtles-Their-Protectors/dp/0982694008/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1270740151&sr=1-4), and let us know what you think! If you can give us a post on your blog, well, that would just be great.

Thanks so much. And keep up the good work!

Mike Cavaliere
Ocean Publishing

(sorry for leaving this as a comment, but I couldn't find an email address!)

Mike Cavaliere said...

Oops! Sorry--one more thing: To reach me, my email address is Mike@OceanPublishing.org.

I'd love to hear from you guys!

Osa said...

Hi guys,

Great spotlight on the Loggerhead!

Just wanted to make you (and anyone else) aware of a great sea turtle-related volunteer opportunity. Friends of the Osa runs a sea turtle conservation program on the beaches of the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica. We need all the volunteer help we can get for the upcoming nesting season. If interested, please visit http://www.osaconservation.org/Volunteer.html. Thanks!

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