Sabinga's Updates: Wildlife Protection Efforts Near the Ocean

Sabinga-Profile-ResizeThe Houston Zoo is excited to welcome a new intern who comes to us all the way from Kenya, in East Africa. Sabinga is in the United States participating in the Community College Initiative Program (CCIP). The Community College Initiative Program is a program of the U.S. Department of State, administered by Northern Virginia Community College on behalf of the Community College Consortium (CCC) in partnership with Houston Community College. While participating in this program, he will join us at the zoo as an intern to learn all about what a modern-day zoo is like! Sabinga is already part of the conservation community as he has been working with Save the Elephants in Kenya for over 8 years. He will be documenting his experiences at the Zoo and we will share his thoughts with you here on our blog! Stay tuned for more!

Sabinga writes:
Do you know that Houston Zoo also doing their part to bolster dwindling populations of animals still living free in the wild? The sea turtle is an example. The green sea turtle gets its name not from the color of its shell but from the greenish shade of its fat. A saw-like beak helps these herbivores tear through vegetation. Their shells, which are lighter and more hydrodynamic than those of terrestrial turtles, allow them to glide easily through the water, while flippers enable them to swim long distances. Male sea turtles spend their entire lives at sea, but females return to the same beaches they were born on, once every two years or so, to lay eggs. It’s a unique creature!!

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Just a few days ago I was busy working on my computer when I heard a voice behind me asking me if I wanted to go into the field with Martha (Conservation Education Coordinator) and sea lion staff on the following Tuesday. I quickly realized the voice was Renee! (Conservation Programs Manager) But it took me lot of thinking to manage and organized my thoughts about word “field” in the zoo as I turn my chair to face her slowly buying time for my thoughts, the only thing running in my head is back in Kenya, in Save the Elephants where we go to the field on daily monitoring, community outreach and anti-poaching campaigns for wildlife. I turn to face her and still have no clue what she meant. My thoughts fail me. I repeated the same statement to her. “Field?” Maybe she though I repeated a word to her for confirmation, not knowing there was so much going in my head. And that was where my new lesson started about what field work with the Houston Zoo meant.

The 16th of December, 2014 Tuesday morning was our mission day of Surfside beach clean-up to protect animals like sea turtles, it took us approximately one hour, was a long drive but was a journey with lot of fun, lots of laugh and a great way to get a word out about the sea Turtles! Aiming to talk to beach residents in an effort to monitor, preserve and protect sea turtle and their vicinity as well as to educate the local residents on the plight of sea turtles and other marine animals, it is the same way Save the Elephants approaches the community on elephant poaching.

Martha had lot of responsibility; she was our team leader, driver and main spokesperson to the community although Sophie Darling and Heather Crane contributed too to the effort. I was keen to learn about how they approach the community! From my heroes (Martha, Sophie and Heather), my first impression was the sea turtle sign at the entry of the beach, this sign was made by the Houston Zoo graphics team in collaboration with  NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric administration) which is also the same way that Save the Elephants collaborates with the Kenyan Government -Kenya Wildlife Service.
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NOAA & Houston Zoo staff put fishing line recycling bins on a long jetty for fishermen to put their broken fishing line that is dangerous for the sea turtles and other marine animals.  We started cleaned the jetty from the far end coming where we began by collecting common marine debris items including things like cigarette butts, cans, plastic bags and bottles, styrofoam, balloons, lighters, discarded or lost fishing gear such as lines, nets and anything else dangerous to sea life. This is hard work but there is still a lot to be done.  We still need to do a lot of collecting and messaging to win this, we cannot give up!!!!

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Sophie and Heather’s comments on their experience, “It feels so good to be out and actively participating in such an important mission, I just wish that I could get every piece of monofilament out there! That was the hardest part, like you said, was having to come to terms with the fact that I couldn’t get everything.  I cannot wait to spread this to the community here at the Zoo and all over Houston! I feel extremely proud to be a part of all of this.”

The total amount or marine debris the sea lion team has collect this fall is:

  • 34.1 lbs of rope
  • 11 lbs of recycling
  • 26.4 lbs of trash
  • 2 lbs of monofilament (fishing line)

Why should we care about sea turtles? Just like other species, sea turtles are also important to the economy. Some fishermen depend on fishing for their jobs and if sea turtle go extinct, the underwater ecosystem would be unbalanced. Why? Sea turtles are one of the only animals that eat sea grass, and sea grasses need to be kept short. Why? So it can grow across the ocean floor. Why? Without the sea grass the species of fish that live there will be lost, the people that fish for them couldn’t anymore. What if that was YOU?  Some just think,  “oh well other people will care for them”; others may say, “I am busy with my business”  – yeah well many other people may be thinking other things – that is why we have this problem. So do your part. Please join us to save sea turtles by reducing the use of plastic bags so that they don’t end up in the ocean and cleaning the beach. It is of great value to our community and the world. We need to take action together, and spread the news! Your actions today affect tomorrow’s outcomes!

Sharks: They’re Not So Scary

Sharks, stingrays, whale sharks and anything ocean-related are near and dear to my heart. I’ve had a love for the ocean and water for as long as I can remember, so for me to pick an ocean related conservation project was a no-brainer. When Dr. Rachel Graham with MarAlliance came to the Zoo in May as part of our Wildlife Speaker Series, I knew that I wanted to help them out in anyway I could!

We have an awesome program here at the Houston Zoo called the Staff Conservation Fund. Every year the staff can donate money to the fund, and then staff can apply for funding to assist or develop a suitable conservation effort of their choice. I did just that, using my photography skills to help MarAlliance spread the word about shark and stingray conservation!

The view from below the water at Shark Ray Alley.  The object in the middle is called a BRUV (Baited Remote Underwater Video).  It attracts the sharks, rays, and fish so they can be viewed at a safe distance and also records the feeding for scientific analysis later.
The view from below the water at Shark Ray Alley. The object in the middle is called a BRUV (Baited Remote Underwater Video). It attracts the sharks, rays, and fish so they can be viewed at a safe distance and also records the feeding for scientific analysis later.

MarAlliance is a marine conservation group based out of Belize that focuses on sharks, stingrays, sea turtles and large finfish. The meaning of their name has two parts: Mar means “sea” in Spanish, and they are also “allied for marine wildlife.” A lot of people, maybe even you, are afraid of sharks. When you hear the word shark, most people think “shark attack!” The truth is, the shark’s reputation is far worse than its bite, and a misunderstanding about their nature has overshadowed the truth about why shark attacks happen.

In reality, sharks have more to fear from humans than we do of them. Each year, millions of sharks are killed by the fishing industry either as intentional or unintentional bycatch, which is catching marine species that are not your intended target. Bycatch can affect many other marine animals besides sharks such as, stingrays, sea turtles, whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, other fish species and many more. That’s why it’s very important for fisheries to use a proper and sustainable type of fishing to avoid as much bycatch as possible.

The other main threat to sharks is the consumption of shark fin soup, which is a delicacy among the Chinese and has grown ever popular in recent years. But it is not only served in China: The soup is served all around the world including the US. Fishermen from around the world catch up sharks by the millions specifically for their fins in the use of this soup. Often times the rest of the body is not used, just discarded. And the fin itself does not actually taste, it’s more just for texture.

Consuming this soup in large quantities, and shark in general, can be hazardous to our health as well. Sharks absorb a lot of mercury from the water and the fish they eat, which we put into our body when we eat the shark. This can be a very serious health risk for mercury poisoning.

With growing demand for this delicacy, sharks are being fished at an unsustainable rate, meaning we are catching more of them than they have time to reproduce. Sharks have a slow rate of growth, late maturity or birthing age and they don’t produce many offspring at a time. All those factors make it hard for the shark population to make a recovery from over fishing.

So why are sharks so important? Because “Many Sharks = A Healthy Reef”. If you’ve ever seen a healthy reef system, there’s a good chance that there were sharks in the area as well. Sharks prey on fish and other sharks, and specifically sick and injured ones. When the sick and injured are taken out of the ecosystem, that makes room for the healthy ones and prevents disease spread. If sharks are disappearing from an area, then that part of the food chain is disrupted and things begin to fall out of balance.

Reefs are like little bustling cities in the ocean. Many different aquatic life use them as homes and feeding grounds. So having healthy reef systems in our ocean is very important to the overall health of the ocean and the animals that live within it.

Part of the conservation work MarAlliance does is educating the local community about sharks and rays. A large group of the Belizean people are fishers, so educating them is key.

MarAlliance staff educating children in Belize City on the importance of sharks and rays.
MarAlliance staff educating children in Belize City on the importance of sharks and rays.

One of the ways they do this is with their Kids Meet Sharks project. It introduces children and adults to sharks and rays and encourages a positive shift in attitudes towards these threatened animals. They first go to local schools and do a presentation about sharks and rays, educating the children on the biology of them, what threats they face, sustainable fisheries and how to appropriately interact with them when you encounter them in the wild.

Belize is home to at least 42 species of sharks and rays, so if you get in the water, you’re more than likely to encounter one. Proper etiquette is to view them from a distance, do not touch, and if there is food, stay at a distance from that food.

After the presentation, the children write a report on what they learned, the teachers grade them, and they pick the top 20. Those children and their teachers then get to go out with MarAlliance to visit Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley, which are protected marine reserves.

Children and teachers from Belize City enjoying the Kids Meet Sharks snorkeling trip at Shark Ray Alley.
Children and teachers from Belize City enjoying the Kids Meet Sharks snorkeling trip at Shark Ray Alley.

Even though they live in Belize, most of these students don’t know how to swim, let alone have ever seen a shark or stingray, so this is a real treat for them! Some were scared at first but with gentle encouragement, they all got in the water and were amazed at what they saw!

By the end of it, we could barely get them out of the water! It was truly amazing to see the wonder, joy and excitement the children and the adults alike all had!

Keep an Eye Out For Cold Sea Turtles!

When the temperature changes quickly in our typically hot and humid environment, humans aren’t the only ones who get chilly. Sea turtles often times become “cold stunned” during extreme temperature changes. They are accustomed to warmer water temperatures, and if a cold front comes in quickly and unexpectedly, they don’t have the time to move to warmer waters and thus become “stunned” by the cold.

Green sea turtles often wash onto our shores when the temperature drops drastically. Call 1-866-TURTLE-5 to report a sea turtle that you suspect is cold-stunned or injured!
Green sea turtles often wash onto our shores when the temperature drops drastically. Call 1-866-TURTLE-5 to report a sea turtle that you suspect is cold-stunned or injured!

Since sea turtles are reptiles and cold blooded, they can’t regulate their body temperature like we can (that’s why we shiver-to warm ourselves up!) and become weak, typically washing up on our bay shores and beaches. Several green sea turtles have recently washed up on our shores as a result of the cold.

Green sea turtles who have been cold stunned this week by our cooler temperatures
Green sea turtles who have been cold stunned by our cooler temperatures

So, if you are  braving the cold weather this winter and spending time near Galveston Bay or our beaches, please make sure to keep a look out for cold stunned turtles. If you happen to see a sea turtle, please report it immediately by calling 1-866-TURTLE-5.

Call 1-866-TURTLE-5 if you see a cold stunned sea turtle
Call 1-866-TURTLE-5 if you see a cold stunned sea turtle

Help Us Clean Up the Galveston Beach – Saturday, Aug. 23

We’re organizing a beach clean-up day and need your help! Come volunteer with us as we work to make Galveston beaches a little cleaner.

 

When: Saturday, August, 23, 2014   8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Where: We will be meeting across the street from “The Spot” restaurant near the Pleasure Pier (3204 Seawall Blvd, Galveston, TX 77550)
Clean up location: Galveston seawall between 29th st. & 39th st.
How to sign up: E-mail SAndreas@HoustonZoo.org to sign up and get more information

 

Volunteers will be required to complete a release of liability form before participating in Beach Cleanup Day. Please print, complete, and bring the form with you on Saturday, August 23. BeachCleanupRelease.pdf

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It’s very important to keep our beaches free of trash and debris, namely plastic. Take a look at how damaging plastic pollution can be.

Challenges of Plastic Pollution:

  • There is roughly 315,000,000,000 pounds of plastic in our oceans right now.
  • The average American will throw away approximately 185 pounds of plastic per year.
  • Plastic bags are petroleum-based and do not biodegrade.
  • 100,000 marine animals die each year from eating plastic pollution in our oceans.
  • Sea turtles and other marine creatures mistake plastics and other garbage as food (such as jellyfish) and ingest it. This causes blockages within their digestive system and lead to severe medical issues.

How You Can Help:

  • Come to our beach clean-up day!
  • Be a hero-use biodegradable garbage bags and pet waste bags! They break down naturally, and don’t leave harmful chemicals behind.
  • Visit the Houston Zoo-a portion of every ticket purchased goes towards saving animals in the wild!
  • Be a hero-avoid using plastic! Buy a reusable water bottle and reusable canvas grocery bags instead of the plastic alternatives. By Using a canvas bag you can eliminate the use of 1,000 plastic bags!

Texas Sea Turtles Getting Checkups and Returning to the Wild!

This week was a busy one for sea turtles on our coast-and it’s been this way for pretty much the entire summer! On Monday, Houston Zoo staff assisted NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) with their weekly beach survey. It was a fairly quiet day in the way of turtles on the beach, but we did happen to see the enormous amounts of sargassum on the beaches which you may have already heard about.

Sargassum buildup on the Galveston beaches. Unfortunately, trash often washes in during sargassum events as well as wildlife!
Sargassum buildup on the Galveston beaches. Unfortunately, trash often washes in during sargassum events as well as wildlife!

Here is a report from a local news station about the sargassum in our area. While the sargassum may make the beaches less than desirable to visit, they are can be important to sea turtles, especially green sea turtles and plenty of other wildlife! If you venture out onto the beach despite the somewhat smelly conditions, you may be delighted to see some amazing wildlife in the seaweed.

Sargassum is basically huge football fields of brown algae floating in the ocean. When it washes up on the beach, it can help build up the dunes which are great storm protection for us and our homes! Animals like shrimp, fish and green sea turtles love to hang out in these football fields of algae in the ocean-it’s a great way to float around in the busy ocean, and your food is right next to you all the time!

This summer, NOAA has responded to several green sea turtles who have stranded on the beach, in the sargassum. Because green sea turtles are pretty much the exact color of the sargassum, it’s really important to keep your eye out for them if you are driving or traveling on the beach! You can call 1-866-TURTLE-5 if you happen to see a turtle on the beach or in the sargassum. We are still technically in sea turtle nesting season, so if you are so lucky as to see a turtle nesting on the beach (or their tracks) make sure to call the turtle hotline to report it!

A green sea turtle blends in perfectly with sargassum on the beach! Keep an eye out for them this holiday weekend and call 1-866-TURTLE-5 if you see one!
A green sea turtle blends in perfectly with sargassum on the beach! Keep an eye out for them this holiday weekend and call 1-866-TURTLE-5 if you see one!

After traveling through the huge patches of sargassum to complete our sea turtle survey, we were fortunate enough to be able to release one of the Kemp’s Ridley turtles that NOAA has been rehabilitating. This turtle was caught on a recreational hook and line, and thankfully was reported to NOAA who took it to their facilities to give it a full medical checkup and provide care until it was healthy enough to go back to the wild.

A Kemp's Ridley sea turtle that was rehabilitated and released by NOAA staff this week!
A Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle that was rehabilitated and released by NOAA staff this week!

And our turtle work did not stop after Monday’s survey! Yesterday, 11 sea turtles visited the Houston Zoo clinic and our awesome vet team to get checkups. Some of these turtles had suspected hooks and needed x-rays and others were turtles that had stranded and needed to get a routine checkup by our vet staff.

Kemp's ridley sea turtle who got a checkup by Houston Zoo vet staff yesterday.
Kemp’s ridley sea turtle who got a checkup by Houston Zoo vet staff yesterday.

All of the 11 turtles were successfully looked at and suggestions were given by the Houston Zoo vet team for each individual’s care. We look forward to seeing these turtles go through successful rehabilitation and then return to the wild!

If you’d like to learn more about the zoo’s efforts to save sea turtles in the wild, check out more info here

If you want to help save sea turtles, take these few simple steps (especially during this busy beach holiday weekend!):

-Leave only footprints when you go to the beach. Make sure to put all of your trash in a can and recycle items when possible. Do not leave tents, fireworks, or other trash on the beach-it is harmful for wildlife and dangerous for the health of our beaches!

-Use canvas bags instead of plastic bags whenever you buy groceries or take items to the beach! The Houston Zoo’s gift shops sells awesome durable sea turtle canvas bags, with all proceeds going back to saving turtles in the wild! Reducing our use of plastic in general helps save sea turtles and other ocean animals.

Sea turtle canvas bags available in our gift shop. All proceeds go towards sea turtles in the wild.
Sea turtle canvas bags available in our gift shop. All proceeds go towards sea turtles in the wild.

Sea Turtle Update: Getting the Green Light for Release

Last week, the Houston Zoo vet clinic and NOAA checked out 9 sea turtles: 4 Kemp’s ridleys, 4 greens, and 1 hawksbill. The Kemp’s ridleys have been recovering from injuries at the NOAA Galveston facility, and will be released over the next few months. Threats to sea turtles are primarily people. People in the form of boats, plastic pollution/littering, fishing hooks, etc. The Kemp’s ridleys looked strong and we hope they’ll go on to live happy sea turtle lives.
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The 4 green sea turtles are what is called “cold stunned” turtles. Because turtles are reptiles, they cannot regulate body heat. When the temperature drops quickly, if the turtles are stuck in small inlets of water (shallow water cools much faster than the ocean)and cannot get to larger and warmer water, their tiny bodies begin to shut down. Since green sea turtles enjoy sea grasses and algae, their species is more likely to be in the small bays and marshes that experience the quick drops in temperature. Based on their progress and recovery timeline, the 4 greens visiting us might be released in the future, or allowed a longer recovery to make sure they are as strong as possible.

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This is a hawksbill sea turtle. Notice the beautiful overlapping pattern on the carapace.

And finally, the hawksbill. This particular hawksbill sea turtle is undergoing treatment for some issues with the carapace (shell). He’ll need some extra time to recover so that NOAA and the Houston Zoo can monitor his progress.

That’s it for this week’s sea turtle update. Stay tuned for more news as we break into nesting season!

Houston Zoo Facilities Staff Saving Sea Turtles!

Conservation…it’s a loaded word. What does it mean? Who does it? Isn’t it all just research and science-y stuff? Actually, no. Conservation is really about working with people, in an effort to make sure animals and habitats are safe, and that there is a healthy future for humans as well!

Our Zoo is involved in lots of conservation efforts. These efforts can range from our website team helping a gorilla project in Central Africa improve their website to our Facilities department installing sea turtle signs on our Texas Coast to increase awareness of these endangered animals. After all, conservation is about working with people-to improve awareness, increase education, improve health, you name it-saving animals revolves around us!

In the last week, our zoo’s Facilities Department has been working to install sea turtle awareness signs on Galveston Island, Surfside Beach and Bolivar Peninsula. The team has installed approximately 47 signs in one week!

Sea turtle awareness sign designed by the Zoo's Graphics Department
Sea turtle awareness sign designed by the Zoo’s Graphics Department

There are 2 different signs, the one above which is a general sign letting the public know what number to call (1-866-TURTLE-5) if you see a turtle on the beach. The 2nd type of sign is more specific and was placed in fishing areas as it outlines what to do if you accidentally catch a turtle on your line.

What to do if you accidentally catch a sea turtle!
What to do if you accidentally catch a sea turtle!

Not only did our Facilities team participate in installing these signs, but it was truly a Houston Zoo collaborative effort as our Graphics Department designed these 2 awesome signs! Through the direction of NOAA, one of the federal agencies who oversees sea turtle conservation in our area, we were able to design and install these signs so that beach-goers can play a more active role in saving sea turtles in the wild!

Houston Zoo Facilities Staff install a sea turtle sign at the Stingaree Marina!
Houston Zoo Facilities Staff install a sea turtle sign at the Stingaree Marina!

You can help save sea turtles in the wild just by:

  • Visiting the zoo (a portion of the proceeds from your ticket goes to conservation)!
  • Reducing your use of plastic (balloons, bags, water bottles, etc.) as these items can end up in the ocean and turtles think they are food!
  • Donating to the zoo’s sea turtle conservation efforts.
  • Adopt a sea turtle from the Houston Zoo!
Conservation is all about collaboration and teamwork! Our Facilities team installs sea turtle signs on Bolivar Peninsula.
Conservation is all about collaboration and teamwork! Our Facilities team installs sea turtle signs on Bolivar Peninsula.

Turtle: Success!

Thank you to everyone who joined us at the Zoo this past Saturday, March 1st for our Save a Turtle Saturday event! We had such a great turnout for the Member Morning at the Aquarium and throughout the day. We can’t wait to celebrate turtles with you again next year!

Some highlights from the day:

Did you know we have turtles living in exhibits with our primates? At the orangutan exhibit staff told guests about the turtles who live in the moat!
Did you know we have turtles living in exhibits with our primates? At the orangutan exhibit staff told guests about the turtles who live in the moat!
Everyone was excited to help save turtles!
Everyone was excited to help save turtles!
Kids recycled paper grocery bags and made their very own turtle shells!
Kids recycled paper grocery bags and made their very own turtle shells!
Guests learned about turtles through biofacts and saw signs that the Zoo made for public beaches in Galveston to create more awareness of our local sea turtles!
Guests learned about turtles through biofacts and saw signs that the Zoo made for public beaches in Galveston to create more awareness of our local sea turtles!
The Vet Clinic joined us to show guests how they assist wild sea turtles who visit the zoo when they need extensive medical care.
The Vet Clinic joined us to show guests how they assist wild sea turtles who visit the zoo when they need extensive medical care.
Guests stopped by the Reptile House to learn about exotic turtle species and how they could help save these animals in the wild!
Guests stopped by the Reptile House to learn about exotic turtle species and how they could help save these animals in the wild!
Visitors made different pledges of actions they could take to help save our local sea turtles!
Visitors made different pledges of actions they could take to help save our local sea turtles!

If you would like to help us save turtles in the wild, please click here to learn more and donate!

Saving Sea Turtles in the Wild

How the Zoo saves sea turtles in the wild:

Dec.3 sea turtleOn Dec. 3rd eight sea turtles were brought to the Houston Zoo’s vet clinic after being stranded on the upper Texas coast.  There were 4 Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles that recieved medical treatment and check ups after swallowing fishing hooks and 4 green sea turtles were treated after feeling the affects of the sudden cold snap.  After the turtles had physical examinations and received treatments they were transported to the  NOAA Sea Turtle Barn in Galvaston to recover.   They will be released as soon as we are sure they are stable and the weather is a bit warmer.

 Fact:  Our veterinary staff have assisted in saving over 75 injured or stranded wild sea turtles in this year alone.

 

Turtle

More ways the Zoo saves sea turtles:

Our staff participates in reducing threats to sea turtles by performing patrols to find stranded and sick turtles and creating signs that give direction to public and fisherman that encounter sea turtles.  For more on our sea turtles saving efforts visit here  .

Come to the Zoo to see the sea turtle in our aquarium.  He was also found stranded and weak on the upper Texas coast and is visiting us until he is strong enough to be released into the wild again.

 

 

 

 

 

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How you can help save sea turtles in the wild:

  • Remember to say no to plastic and use reusable shopping bags and drink cups whenever you can!
  • Every time you purchase a ticket to visit the Zoo or a membership a portion goes to saving animals in the wild.

How Your Next Seafood Dinner Can Help the Ocean

Sometimes, I get a minute at my desk to read over the  highly informative and educational journals/magazines/publications that relate to protecting animals and their habitats. Today, I had the opportunity to read the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s 2nd Edition of Turning the Tide (The State of Seafood) publication. Many of you may not have access to this, so let me give you the gist:

Our oceans are in trouble. Why? Many species of fish have been over fished, and done so without considering how long it will take for these animals to get back to healthy populations.

Spotted eagle rays-Photo courtesy of Nat Geo
Spotted eagle rays-Photo courtesy of Nat Geo

Why else? Marine debris, plastic pollution…trash in our oceans! You have probably seen pictures of this on our Houston Zoo Facebook pages:

A green sea turtle in Surfside, Texas entangled in fishing line.
A green sea turtle in Surfside, Texas entangled in fishing line.

So what can we do? Well…a lot, actually. Making smart choices about what we eat and where we buy it is a huge step. We can also limit our use of plastics, and when we do use plastics-make sure they end up in recycling, not on our beaches or on the land in any way.

If you are wondering how to make smart seafood decisions (I don’t blame you…we live on the Gulf Coast and have easy access to seafood!), check out this list of top North American Sustainable Seafood Companies (go to them first to buy your seafood). This list is from the Turning the Tide, The State of Seafood publication:

Grocery Stores:

Walmart

Kroger Company

Costco

Target

Safeway

Publix Super Markers

Ahold USA (Stop & Shop, Giant, Martin’s Food Market)

BJ’s Wholesale Club

Whole Foods Market (who also just helped us raise money for elephant conservation! Thanks Whole Foods!)

Giant Eagle

Trader Joe’s

A & P

Winn-Dixie Stores

Thank you to these stores for keeping our oceans healthy, and the animals who live in our oceans healthy!

Our Texas sea turtles are appreciative of your sustainable seafood choices!
Our Texas sea turtles are appreciative of your sustainable seafood choices!

These stores have public sustainable seafood sourcing policies and work in partnership with members of the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions.

If you’re interested in finding out more about specific types of seafood to eat, or avoid, check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch recommendations.

OR, check out this page for a list of seafood to eat and to avoid that is specific to those of us in Texas!

Thanks for doing your part to save wildlife. And remember, every time you visit the Houston Zoo, you help save animals in the wild!

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