isHAPPY GOPHER TORTOISE DAY!

(Video via National Geographic )

That’s right! Today, April 10th, is Gopher Tortoise Day!

The Florida Gopher Tortoise is an incredible creature whose existence has been seriously impacted by urbanization, disease, poaching, and other human actions. According to national geographic, their numbers have declined by 70 PERCENT in the last century! That’s a frightening loss for the species and for the 360+ other animals whose own existence rely on the burrows Gopher tortoise create!

The video above features one of the most outgoing tortoises Hipps’ observes regularly, Gertrude.  In the article, she describes Gertrude an alpha female and discusses the social behaviors she and her fellow researchers have observed while studying them.

“Most of the tortoises are pretty shy and skittish, but not Gertrude,” says Hipps. If someone approaches Gertrude’s underground home she often begins to head-bob—a telltale sign of tortoise aggression—before charging forward and possibly ramming your shoes, she says.

Read all about the gopher tortoise research project, Amanda Hipps’ work, and the other tortoises her team has worked to learn about and protect in this fantastic article by national geographic.  I guarantee you’ll learn something new!

Oh, and please take a moment and check out this incredible twitter thread by Amanda Hipps, who researches the animals that live in gopher tortoise burrows! It will blow your mind!

An understanding and respect for Gopher Tortoises, the creatures that depend on them is a must for everyone but especially those who live among them. This year, Sanibel island joined the many cities that celebrate Gopher Tortoise Day, by sharing information and advocating for conservation awareness.

Joel Cauette, Part of Sanibel Island’s Natural resources department, shared some basics on how to respect the habitat and activities of the Gopher Tortoise

“The species needs plenty of sandy sunny habitats with an open tree canopy to thrive and survive, according to the FWC. Officials advised that it is best to leave gopher tortoises and their half-moon shaped burrow entrances alone. It is illegal to disturb or harm them, their burrows or their eggs.

To help a gopher tortoise cross a road, pick it up and place it on the roadside in the direction it was heading. Also remember that the tortoise is a land animal – never attempt to put it into water.”

(via Island Reporter)

So take some time to learn about the gopher tortoise today, about their impact on the environment around them, and how you can help ensure the species exists for many more Gopher Tortoise Days to come! 

And if you’re interested in the research mentioned above? Consider Follow Amanda Hipps (@biophiliamanda) and Bethany Augliere (@BethanyAugliere) on twitter! You’ll learn so much! 

natureseychelles:

Just when we thought #turtle #nesting season was over on #CousinIsland, this #HawksbillTurtle Shows up! The current #ConservationBootCamp participants were lucky to witness this during this time of the year. Follow link to join the #conservation adventure on this award winning #nature reserve in the #Seychelles goo.gl/8XDIZh (at Cousin Island)

AMAZING!

Florida Biologists Need Your Help Spotting Spotted Turtles

Florida Biologists Need Your Help Spotting Spotted Turtles

typhlonectes:

Send your sightings to
spotted.turtle@myfwc.com and visit our FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute page for more info!
 
FWRI amphibian and reptile research: http://bit.ly/2DbrsmH
 
FWC photo by Jonathan Mays

Attention #Floridians! Biologists want to know if you’ve spotted a Spotted turtle in the wild! Send your sightings to the email listed above and be a part of conservation action in Florida!  BUT REMEMBER! Do not pick them up! Do NOT try and take them home with you. Leave them in the wild where they belong! Your job is to observe, acknowledging their glory, and report back (and squee with excitement that you got to see such an incredible creature in its habitat!) 

Baby photos of 10 of the world’s rarest turtles from the zoo trying to save them

Baby photos of 10 of the world’s rarest turtles from the zoo trying to save them

typhlonectes:

The turtle and tortoise hatchlings pictured here, some about the size of quarter, are part of assurance colonies at the Bronx Zoo’s World of Reptiles. Nearly all of these species are reproduced according to recommendations from Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) programs. SSPs manage populations of species in AZA zoos and aquariums for genetic viability and demographic stability, in order to ensure that captive populations are healthy and could be safely reintroduced to the wild if needed…

Turtle Tuesday | Sea Turtle Facts

oceanblogger:

There are 7 species of sea turtles: Green, Hawksbill, Leatherback, Loggerhead, Olive Ridley, Kemp’s Ridley and Flatback. 

All except the Flatback sea turtle can be found in the oceans surrounding the United States. 

Almost all species of sea turtles are listed as Endangered

There are many threats facing sea turtles. Some of these threats are caused by humans and include, bycatch by fishing practices, entanglement in fishing gear, habitat destruction, nest disturbance and climate change

The sex of sea turtles depends on the temperature of the nest they are incubated in. Cooler temperatures result in more males and warmer temperatures result in more females. Increasing temperatures as a result of climate change are causing the temperature of the nests to be warmer resulting in more females being born than males. 

Sea turtles nest and lay their eggs on beaches around the world and females return to the same beach that they hatched on to lay their eggs. Development and human activity has drastically altered and destroyed many nesting beaches. 

Learn more about the many threats facing these creatures here

You can help reduce the amount of sea turtles being caught in fishing gear and preserve their nesting beaches by buying seafood that is certified to be sustainably caught, by reporting sea turtle tracks to local conservation organizations (because a nest is most likely nearby & most of these organizations protect them) and by not disturbing any known nests and holding others accountable that do disturb them by reporting their behavior to local authorities. 

Sea turtles are protected by the law in the United States so it is illegal to catch or harass them in any way. If you encounter a sea turtle or a nest please do not approach either.  

You can find out about verified sustainable sea food here. Labels and information that indicate certification can be found here and here

image

References and resources:

https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/news/june15/sea-turtles.html

http://wildhawaii.org/documents/hawaiian_hawksbill_brochure.pdf

https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/sea-turtle#

https://www.worldwildlife.org/pages/infographic-sea-turtles#

https://www.worldwildlife.org/industries/wild-caught-seafood#

rootswingsarts:

WNC Nature Center crawled into preschool today.

Today is #givingtuesday ! This boxie is giving‪ ‬back by teaching the tiny humans the glory of turtles.

You can join him by supporting organizations like‪ ‬the WNC nature‪ ‬center, conservation‪ ‬and rescues‪ ‬in your area and world world!

Let’s give the #turtpocalypse a helping hand this #givingtuesday

Let’s give the #turtpocalypse a helping hand this #givingtuesday

rootswingsarts:

WNC Nature Center crawled into preschool today.

Today is #givingtuesday ! This boxie is giving‪ ‬back by teaching the tiny humans the glory of turtles.

You can join him by supporting organizations like‪ ‬the WNC nature‪ ‬center, conservation‪ ‬and rescues‪ ‬in your area and world world!

Let’s give the #turtpocalypse a helping hand this #givingtuesday

Let’s give the #turtpocalypse a helping hand this #givingtuesday

Threatened Desert Tortoises set free south of Boulder City, NV

Threatened Desert Tortoises set free south of Boulder City, NV

typhlonectes:

The desert tortoise with the red marker on its shell spent its first
few minutes of freedom sitting motionless in the shade of a creosote
bush about five miles south of Boulder City.

Then it stuck its neck out and began to explore its new home, pausing
occasionally to snack on rattlesnake weed and other local cuisine.

The tortoise was one of a dozen released Friday morning into the
Boulder City Conservation Easement, a 86,423-acre swath of public land
set aside in 1995 to conserve habitat for the federally protected
reptile.

Another 26 tortoises were set free in the same general area on
Thursday, 16 of them with tracking devices glued to their shells. It was
the first organized release by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and
its partners in Southern Nevada in two years…

gettinghardertoshowit:

SMILE 🐢

💚

Friends! We love turtles and torts but please, when you see an animal in the wild take care when taking pictures of them! Do not approach them unnecessarily simply to take a selfie! 

As cute as this may seem, that shell doesn’t open its mouth like that to smile. It’s not happy to pose for you! It’s likely distressed. It’s not on the beach to hang out with you either! It could be nesting (an arduous process that takes an incredible amount of energy and effort from the animal and should be left alone) or it could be ill (which requires professional assistance and maybe you could call someone instead of taking all the pictures).  

I do not know the context of this photo so there may be extenuating circumstances that make this somehow ok, but that’s not provided here and after we had a sea turtle trampled by tourists taking photos with it this summer, I can’t stand to see so many of these images showing up. This is an ENDANGERED ANIMAL! The loss of a single animal to a situation like this will impact the population long term! it’s no joke. 

So please, when on vacation, at the beach, whatever…  Take a selfie from afar. take a picture with Zoom. Make sure the animal is safe and well and reconsider doing things like this.