Healed Sea Turtle Released, but The Beach is Covered in Trash

Yesterday was Monday and that means it was time for a sea turtle survey. If you are interested in what a sea turtle survey is all about and how we get to help out with them, start here.

During this survey, we were lucky enough to go the entire day without coming across a single dead sea turtle. The day got even better, as Lyndsey from NOAA told me that we had a small Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle to be released. We carefully prepared the turtle for release.

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Metal tags are placed to allow plenty of room for growth.

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Preparing a sea turtle for release is more involved than simply placing it on the beach and waving goodbye. The turtle must first be cleared to be released and deemed fit for release based on any medical concerns that particular animal may have.

 

We weighed the turtle, and tagged it with metal identification tags. These tags will last approximately 20 years and provide important information that can be obtained if this turtle happens to wash in. A microchip similar to those used in domestic animals was injected into his shoulder to help out with identification as well.

After all the prep work was finished, this guy was ready to go. Lyndsey placed him on the quiet beach and he was free again to enjoy the ocean. Best of luck, little sea turtle!

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Further down the beach, we came across a disturbing sight. It was trash. Trash as far as you could see, and it was mostly plastic. Some notable items included a refrigerator, concrete mix, and about a million random other pieces of plastic. This is what our beach looks like, Texans.

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If you go to the beach, clean up your trash! This trash gets washed and blown into the ocean. Sea turtles mistake plastic for an easy jellyfish target and take bites out of it. Common sense tells us that plastic is not conducive to a healthy diet. If you go to the beach, bag your trash and take it to one of the many trash cans located along the beach.

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Notice the little bites out of this cup. You can tell these are turtle bites from the little sea turtle beak marks. A hungry sea turtle bit this hoping for a jellyfish and instead got a stomach full of plastic.

Help out sea turtles and the environment by packing out what you pack in. Don’t leave any trash and clean up those beaches!



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