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Turtle Relocation Preparations Under Way

July 2nd, 2010 by Anna Laura Rehwinkel

Crews have spent the lat several days in a Panhandle warehouse, making preparations for the unprecedented move of as many as 70 thousand sea turtle eggs threatened by oil. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, biologists believe the move will give the turtles the best chance of survival.

Some sea turtle nests will begin being moved as early as next week, once they reach their 50th day.

In this Fish and Wildlife Service warehouse in Panama City, a crew from the Sea Turtle Conservancy is washing and drilling holes in styrofoam coolers that will be used to move the eggs.

“And because they’re eggs, reptile eggs, they do need air to survive,” Sea Turtle Conservancy marine biologist Dan Evans said. “And that’s why nests in the wild that are flooded multiple times don’t survive”

The intruding oil promises almost certain destruction to an entire generation of turtles if they are allowed to hatch and swim into the oil.

“They’re essentially seeking the same currents that are catching all the oil,” Gary Appleson with the Sea Turtle Conservancy said. “So they’re going to be immediately interacting with oil.”

Specially designed pallets will be loaded with the coolers.

Then transported 450 miles to Cape Canaveral.

While they are transporting the coolers, biologists also have to worry about controlling temperature and humidity.

Moving the nests comes with plenty of risk…but the risk outweighs any other options  says the Fish and Wildlife Service.

“It has never been done before,” Lorna Patrick with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said. “This is an extraordinary circumstance so we think that extraordinary measures are needed.”

Even under normal conditions few hatchlings survive predators and the elements, now they will also have to survive being moved.

Posted in Environment, Gulf Oil Spill, State News, Wildlife | 28 Comments »

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