PhD Research on Sea Turtles
I am a second year Marine Biology PhD student with Texas A&M University doing research on sea turtles in Costa Rica.
Recently, a video I posted showing a straw being removed from a sea turtle's nostril received worldwide attention.
This sea turtle is just one example of many.
No biologist, regardless of his or her location, is actively seeking out injured wildlife as seen in my video. But we are on the front-lines of reality looking at thousands of animals and we are consistently witnessing the by-products of human consumerism, and its consequences.
There are many more things we want to do and CAN do, but funding is difficult to come by, and there are consequences to this fact.
People forget that in order to protect any species effectively, this protection must be based on observations of the species' biology, ecology, and behaviour.
Many people asked me how they could support my work after seeing the video or where they could donate and it inspired me to launch this campaign to ask for funding to continue my research to reveal the secrets of sea turtles and protect them and their habitat.
Over the course of the next three years I will visit numerous sites worldwide to discover important mating strategies and foraging habitats of sea turtles and investigate alternative reproductive behaviours of sea turtles.
My findings will help inform conservation management plans and help to ensure that sea turtles continue to swim freely in our oceans for generations to come. Your funds will help to pay for my research and fees, as well as provide essential equipment for this study.
FIRST AID KIT FOR SEA TURTLES!
Coming across injured sea turtles in our line of work is very common. So after talking to my university veterinarian about the incident we have come up with the idea to develop a first-aid kit for sea turtles together with a guide-book and a training, which researchers can take with them into the field, when they are working on studies with sea turtles in remote areas. The first aid kit would be for cases like ours where a sea turtle is found with injuries or foreign objects attached to them, such as fishing hooks or fishing line or -as in in our case - a straw, and medical attention is unavailable or too far away. I will use money from this GoFundMe campaign to develop the first-aid kit together with our vet.
Plastic Pollution Coalition launched a "No Straw" campaign in collaboration with us in November 2015.
Have a look and take the No-Straw Pledge here:
THE STORY BEHIND THE VIRAL VIDEO
Research @ Texas A&M has produced a video telling our story. Enjoy!
The female was found while nesting and had dragged a bulk of fishing net up the beach with her, including a 1kg lead weight.
Parts of the net were wrapped around her right front flipper and had started to cut into the flesh. Luckily circulation didn't seem to haven been cut off and she was able to move her flipper normally, so we cut off the line and disinfected the cut with iodine.
Given our knowledge of the scarcity of sea turtle rehab facilities and lack of expert care for injured sea turtles in Costa Rica, the decision we are usually facing is either leaving the animal as is or trying to help as much as we can by removing obstructing objects.
As biologists we don't actively seek out injured wildlife, but our research happens to position us at the front-lines of reality looking at the detrimental effects of human impact on wildlife.
At this point I would like to thank again everyone that donated to my GoFundMe Campaign ( https://www.gofundme.com/wuhvd6zj)! Without you this field season wouldn't have been possible and we wouldn't have been to the right time at the right place to help again. Thank you!
Two days ago we found another olive ridley turtle in distress. A female was severely entangled in a bulk of ghost net and we had to cut her lose.
The video can be seen here.