The Beacon

Blog Tags: Sea Turtles

A Tough Winter for Turtles

green sea turtle

A green sea turtle at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Topsail Island, NC. The center often takes in cold-stunned turtles. © Jeff Janowski/Oceana

This winter has been a doozy around the country, and not just for humans. On Tuesday, The Miami Herald published a letter to the editor from Oceana's chief scientist Mike Hirshfield on the effect of this year's harsh winter on sea turtles. Check it out:

Officials are calling this one of the worst years on record for sea turtle strandings in the United States. Approximately 2,500 sea turtles have been found wounded or dead as a result of cold-stunning in the increasing frigid waters of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. Volunteers are busily scouring the coastline for sea turtles that can be rehabilitated and eventually released back into the wild, and rescue centers are becoming inundated with sea turtles fighting for survival.

To a scientist, it all makes perfect, if unfortunate, sense. Cold-blooded reptiles like sea turtles are simply unable to warm themselves in cold water. While sea turtles are commonly found in northern U.S. waters during the summer and early fall, they typically migrate to warmer climates by late October. Unfortunately, not all of them made it out before the area temperatures dropped to unbearable levels, and with a winter like we are having, it is bound to be a deadly scenario.


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Kate Walsh on Jimmy Kimmel Live

kate walsh sea turtle

Kate Walsh swims with a green sea turtle. © Tim Calver

Last night our favorite TV doctor and sea turtle lover Kate Walsh appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Jimmy displayed a photo of Kate swimming alongside a sea turtle from her trip with Oceana to the U.S. Virgin Islands. Kate fought back giggles -- that Jimmy Kimmel, such a jokester -- to explain why she loves sea turtles.

After you watch the clip, don't forget to check out her PSA, slideshows and bonus footage of Kate at http://na.oceana.org/en/turtlesoffthehook.


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Oceana Adoption Center Open for the Holidays

Oceana Adoption Center

© Oceana

Have you ever tried to gift wrap a shark? Put a bow on a polar bear? Wrangle a penguin into a gift box? Thankfully, you don’t have to actually wrap up an animal to give an Oceana gift. I’m so excited to tell you that the Oceana Adoption Center is open for business!

All the familiar creatures are back this year - sharks, sea turtles, octopuses, polar bears, penguins, seals, dolphins and whales - and we've made a special addition too. We are now offering The Casey Kit, a deluxe limited-edition sea turtle adoption inspired by Casey Sokolovic, a young ocean hero who has been baking and selling cookies to support the rescue and rehabilitation of sea turtles.

Until wrapping paper comes in rolls large enough for a hammerhead, Oceana’s adoptions are the best way to give the ocean-lovers on your list the perfect holiday present. Make sure to order before December 15 to get free holiday shipping. Your tax-deductible donation is not only a thoughtful gift to a lucky friend or family member, but it helps us here at Oceana do our work – protecting the oceans all over the world.


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Sound, Brain and Ocean Waves

wave

Image via wikimedia commons.

Last time we heard from Dr. Wallace "J." Nichols, he sent us wisdom from a coconut. Now he's back with several cool new projects. The first is called Ocean Voices, a website where you can record your own thoughts on the oceans and listen to others' voices, too.

The culmination of the project will be an Ocean Opera performed in June 2010 to kick off World Ocean Month and Jacques Cousteau's 100th Birthday celebration. With more than 300 voices so far, Nichols hopes to get 1000 by the end of this year. Check it out and speak up for the seas!

And then there's his forthcoming book, Oceanophilia, co-authored by Andy Myers. So what is Oceanophilia, you ask? Keep reading and find out, in this post by Nichols from yesterday's Huffington Post:

Oceanophilia: The Neuroscience of Emotion and the Ocean

“We are tied to the ocean.  And when we go back to the sea—whether it is to sail or to watch it—we are going back from whence we came.”  - President John F. Kennedy

Once I met a man who hated the ocean.  Intensely, he said.  He described to me fear, negative associations and a general unease he couldn’t quite put his finger on.  His aversion was so strong— especially when measured against my own great, unabashed love for the ocean—that I’ll never forget my bewilderment.  Everyone I have ever known loves the ocean.  I’m not talking about lower-case “l” kind of love either; the kind that we apply indiscriminately to pop stars, sports teams and chocolate bars.  I mean the capital “L” kind of Love; the love that is unfathomable and ineffable, a fusion of respect, understanding, awe, sensuality and mystery.


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Kate Walsh Joins Oceana to Save Sea Turtles

Actress Kate Walsh, star of ABC’s “Private Practice,” (and that fantastic Cadillac commercial) has joined Oceana in our campaign to protect sea turtles. Needless to say, we are tickled to have her on board.

Walsh travelled with Oceana scientists to the U.S. Virgin Islands this summer, where she encountered leatherback hatchlings and swam with green sea turtles. (Watch the video below -- she's impressively graceful in the water).

Check out Kate's new website with Oceana, http://oceana.org/turtlesoffthehook, where you can see her new PSA about turtles, photo slideshows and bonus footage, and sign up to join Kate in the fight to get turtles off the hook. Plus, don't forget to check out the interview with Kate in the latest Oceana newsletter.

Kate Walsh Swims With Sea Turtles from Oceana on Vimeo.


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Rachel Maddow Loves Sea Turtles

Rachel Maddow, known for her incisive take on American politics, is also, it seems, a fan of sea turtles. In a "Moment of Geek" segment from her show last week, she showed a video of 82 green sea turtle hatchlings at Sea World in San Diego. "All of the world's species of sea turtle are on the endangered list, so there being 82 new little ones in the world is sort of a big turtle-y deal." We couldn't agree more, Rachel. If that makes us geeks, then so be it.

 


Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy


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Kate Walsh, Sea Turtles and More in Our Fall Newsletter

kate walsh

Actress Kate Walsh with a leatherback hatchling. © Tim Calver


I’m happy to share our latest quarterly newsletter with you. We’ve taken a slightly different approach this time around and featured several facets of our campaign to save sea turtles.

We’re also officially introducing Kate Walsh, star of the hit TV shows “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice,” as our sea turtle campaign spokeswoman.

These stories and more are inside:

*Kate Walsh Wants to Get Sea Turtles Off the Hook: The actress travels to the Virgin Islands with Oceana to film a public service campaign to protect sea turtles.

*New Oceana victories to protect krill, sea turtles and more.

*Introducing Casey: This 11-year-old sea turtle activist from North Carolina raises money for sea turtles through bake sales, and joins Oceana’s holiday adopt-a-creature fundraiser.

*Nesting Nights: Oceana online editor Emily Fisher and marine biologist Kerri Lynn Miller traveled to Bald Head Island to witness loggerhead sea turtle nesting.

*Photos from our Sea Change Summer Party honoring Morgan Freeman and Glenn Close.

*A profile of Lea Haratani, marine biologist and new vice chair of the Ocean Council.

*A sustainable seafood recipe from renowned Spanish chef Sergi Arola.

You can also download a PDF of the newsletter. I hope you come away entertained and enlightened about Oceana’s work.



[Andy Sharpless is the CEO of Oceana.]


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A Bad Year for Loggerheads

loggerhead sea turtle

A female loggerhead on Bald Head Island, NC. © Oceana/Jeff Janowski

During my turtle trip to Bald Head Island, NC in June, the loggerhead nesting numbers were looking dismal, but it was fairly early in the season, so the folks at the Island Conservancy were hoping things would turn around. It turns out Bald Head had its worst nesting year on record since 1983.

This year's loggerhead nesting numbers are in, and yesterday Oceana announced that this year was one of the worst on record from North Carolina to Florida. In Florida, which accounts for nearly 90 percent of loggerhead nesting in the United States, nesting decreased by more than 15 percent in 2009.


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Inbox Inspiration

We frequently get e-mails from Wavemakers who have questions or comments about our work. But every once in a while we get stories that just plain make our day. We got such an e-mail on Friday from a father named Frank. He wrote:

My son, who is 8 years old, has started a charity on his own. We read an article about how marine animals are dying from starvation after mistakenly eating plastic bags...especially sea turtles. So my son saved his money all summer (from picking up dog poop in our back yard) and used the money to buy reusable shopping bags.


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A Visit From Casey

casey sokolovic

Eleven-year-old sea turtle activist and 2009 Ocean Hero nominee Casey Sokolovic and her parents visited Oceana HQ in Washington, DC last Friday. Coincidentally, I was in North Carolina last week on the sea turtle nesting expedition you've been reading about, so I didn't get the chance to meet her. We traded places -- she was in the office, and I was looking for sea turtles nesting and visiting the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center where she volunteers. To raise money for the Center, she has held bake sales (with turtle-shaped cookies, of course), and has worked with NC coffee brewery Joe Van Gogh to create an organic sea turtle blend. Her coffee is now being carried in Whole Foods stores throughout the Carolinas, with 10% of the proceeds going to the center.


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