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Conservation Efforts

February 13, 2017

The Countdown to Sea Turtle Season Has Begun!

Good news, Devotees! On March 1, now less than one month away, the official Sea Turtle Season will begin and we will soon start to see nesting females come to shore to lay their eggs. Sea Turtle Season runs from March 1 - October 31. In this time, thousands of females will travel hundreds, some even thousands, of miles to return to the beach where they were originally born at. Loggerheads, Green Sea Turtles, and the rare Leatherbacks are the three sea turtles who utilize Florida's beaches for their nests.

During the season, these yellow signs will line the coastlines and beaches ranging from Broward County in South Florida to the coast of South Carolina. Broward County is the county with the most nests laid every year. Devocean Co. is lucky enough to be based out of South Florida where we are able to actively help as many hatchlings as possible. Each sea turtle season, the FAU Research Lab cares for hundreds of hatchlings where they are fed a special diet and closely monitored until they are old enough and strong enough to be released back to the ocean. 

Keep up with our blog to find out when the first sea turtle nest has been laid, the number of nests laid, and more during this 2017 Sea Turtle Season! 

 

January 30, 2017

First Male of the 2016 Lab Hatchlings Discovered!

Sea turtles are unique in that their sex is determined by temperature. This is known as Temperature-Dependent Sex Determination (TSD). The temperature of the sea turtle nest will result in either female or male hatchlings. Warmer temperatures will produce a majority of females while cooler temperatures produce mostly males.
Although Sea Turtle Season (March 1 - October 31) has been over for quite some time, there are still many young sea turtles ready to be released to the ocean. Before these young turtles are released, a laparoscopy is done to help determine the sex of each turtle. At least 200 laparoscopies have been done with Loggerheads and Green Sea Turtles this past 2016 season thus far. Of that number, the first male sea turtle was just discovered this past week! The male was a Loggerhead and will be released with 35 other female Loggerheads and 3 Green Sea Turtles this coming week.
In 2015 there were only 2 males compared to roughly 400 females out of all of the sea turtles that were taken care of in the lab and released back to the ocean. There are still another 250 sea turtles whose sex is yet to be determined from this past 2016 season, so we are hoping to have a few more males in the next few weeks!
Look for a new blog post every Monday to find out the latest happenings in the lab, information about releases, and much more! 
January 24, 2017

Help Us Save The Endangered Animals!

A new president for the United States could mean new laws put in place for wildlife and old laws taken away. For the past decade it has been debated whether or not the Endangered Species Act established in 1973 is doing its job in helping the 41,415 current species on this list. Some argue that helping certain endangered species like polar bears is ineffective because we cannot stop the natural phenomenon of global warming. Others argue that since the Endangered Species Act became established, very few animals have made any significant recovery.
Worldwide, 6 out of the 7 species of sea turtles are considered threatened or endangered. Both the Hawksbill and Kemp's Ridley sea turtles are listed as critically endangered, meaning these two species are currently at an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild. Officials in Congress argue that this conservation act is hindering drilling, logging, and other activities - all of which can cause unrecoverable impacts on the environment in which these endangered species live. An example would be the Deep Horizon offshore oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that happened back in 2010. 7 years later, there is still marine life being affected by the tar and oil that remains in the gulf and in our oceans. 
Without the Endangered Species Act, thousands of animals, including some species of sea turtles, could face extinction if they are no longer protected. The Devocean Team encourages you not to just help the sea turtles, but all animals that face extinction equally.
Sign the petition below to have your voice heard and make a difference!

Click on the link below to sign the petition and learn more about what the new bill (Bill S.1731/H.R.3533) opposes and how it weakens the Endangered Species Act, the greatest conservation tool we have to protect and restore these species of threatened and endangered animals.

http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/protect-the-endangered

January 16, 2017

New Year, Same Turtles (for now...)

Sea Turtle Season runs from March 1 through October 31, but that does not mean the FAU Marine Research Lab is empty during off season! The newborn hatchings that were gathered from the beaches in Palm Beach County in South Florida have grown up in the lab. During their time in the lab they were monitored daily and were fed a special diet to ensure a healthy development. 
Now that these turtles are healthy, strong, and big enough to return to the ocean, they are being released offshore where they have a better chance of survival from predators. We are so happy to have been able to save hundreds of hatchlings this past year, and we could not have done it without all of you!
Before we know it, all of the sea turtles from last season will safely be set free to explore the ocean! Just in time... for new baby hatchlings! In a few months all of the older hatchlings will be gone and the new hatchlings from this upcoming season will take their place. We are so excited for the next upcoming Sea Turtle Season! Check our blog to stay connected with what is going on in the lab. 
January 09, 2017

Sea Turtles Released Back to the Big Blue Ocean

This past weekend, the Devocean team paired up with our friends at the FAU Marine Research Lab at Gumbo Limbo Nature Center to release young sea turtles back to the ocean!
Releasing these turtles is not as easy as releasing the older adults. Unlike the larger adults who are rehabilitated and released on the shore once they are strong enough and healthy again, these younger turtles are too small to be released right on the beach. Because of their small size, they are still prey to many predators. The team wants to ensure that these sea turtles have the best chance of survival to be able to live long and healthy lives.
In order to ensure these turtles are not targets to larger prey, the team took off from Boca Raton, Florida, and headed out into the Atlantic ocean to find a large batch of Sargassum offshore. Sargassum is brown algae and is widely distributed in the warmer waters of the globe - the same seaweed that is typically found along the shoreline of the east coast of the United States. It is used by hatchlings and younger sea turtles as protection from predators, as well as a reliable food source, until they are large enough to survive on their own without the needed protection. Many young fish also take shelter in the sargassum beds until they are older and big enough to survive in the rest of the ocean. This is why it is vital to find a sargassum bed large enough to support the young sea turtles. 
Thank you Devotees for your constant support in helping to ensure happy and healthy lives for these sea turtles. Without you - major accomplishments like these would not be possible! The Devocean team is so glad to have started the new year with the release of these beautiful creatures.

Together, let's make 2017 the best year yet for sea turtles everywhere!

December 26, 2016

2016 Accomplishments for Sea Turtles

This past year, we've been able to make a huge, positive difference in the lives of sea turtles. With your help, we were able to release several hundred baby sea turtles safely back to the ocean after being cared for in the FAU Sea Turtle Research Lab at Gumbo Limbo Nature Center. Below, we have highlighted just some of the many milestones for sea turtles and our oceans this past year!
  • Green Sea Turtles in Florida and Mexico are no longer considered Endangered (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA))
  • Sanibel Island, Florida had a record-breaking number of sea turtle nests for this nesting season with a total of 636 nests - beating the record back from 2000!
  • The Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) has worked with over 65 properties, representing over 45,000 linear feet of beach darkened to decrease the number of sea turtle hatchlings who become disoriented due to artificial lighting along the coastline
  • Under authority of the Antiquities Act, President Obama expanded Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in Hawaii (a marine preservation site) by 442,000 square miles
  • Increased research and knowledge has led to hundreds of sea turtles being successfully treated for Fibropapillomatosis (a cancerous virus that produces both external and internal tumors)
Milestones and accomplishments such as the ones stated above are why we so strongly believe in the importance of contributing to sea turtle research to learn how we can effectively improve the lives of these beautiful marine animals. Our vision is to have our oceans clean and free from pollution so that sea turtles and all marine animals may live happy and healthy lives. We are committed to saving our oceans and are glad we have so many Devotees who have the same determination and commitment. 

Thank you all for helping to make this year an incredible year for Sea Turtles!

December 12, 2016

Make a Craft, Save a Turtle!

On Saturday, December 17th, you can join the team at Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton, FL for their annual "Ornaments Naturally." Ornaments Naturally is an event where both children and adults can create holiday ornaments and accessories from seashells, sea beans, pine cones, and other colorful materials. All materials will be provided, but guests are encouraged to bring their own materials as well that may be used in their own personal crafts. You can make a beautiful keepsake for yourself, and make another to give as a gift to someone else!
The cost is $7 for members and $10 for non-members, the proceeds will go towards Gumbo Limbo's environmental programs, which include scholarships, Sea Turtle Rehabilitation, public exhibit improvements, and more."
Bring your imagination this coming up Saturday and join us in making unique crafts! We hope to see you there!
Below is the address for Gumbo Limbo Nature Center
1801 N Ocean Blvd
Boca Raton, FL 33432
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