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NIghttime Turtle Operations Pickup
After a somewhat quiet two weeks, the NOAA turtle strike team is back in Louisiana; now that the weather has cleared up they can resume their at-sea boat operations. What does this mean to us at Audubon Aquatic Center? The turtle nighttime M.A.S.H. unit is back in full operations.
When Hurricane Alex began approaching the Gulf of Mexico, it not only slowed cleanup efforts but it also made the at-sea operations by NOAA and LDWF basically impossible as well. With swelling seas and pelting rain, visibility was zero which meant locating animals was very difficult. As the storm grew stronger and closer it also became unsafe for the teams to continue to search for animals in distress.
Don’t be fooled by this, just because we didn’t have new turtles joining our other houseguests at the rehabilitation center, Audubon Nature Institute staff has been quite busy. We have been taking care of the over 100 turtles and a dolphin. The upside to no turtles coming in at night just means the staff gets to eat dinner at a normal time at home with their families.
Now that the weather as finally decided to settle down and cooperate with our endeavors, LDWF began their search for animals last week. On July 2nd, they rescued a female Loggerhead off the coast of Grand Isle. While this sea turtle was not visibly oiled, she was in desperate need of help and was fortunate for our LDWF partners to spot her. It also happens that Jeff Corwin was on the boat as well.
After perfect weather this past weekend and very successful operations by our partners in the field, LDWF and NOAA, Audubon has 15 new guests at the rehabilitation center.
One frequent question we are asked in almost every interview is what our turtle capacity is and the answer is that Audubon Nature Institute is prepared to expand as necessary to accommodate however many animals are in need of assistance.
Keep checking back on our oil spill resource page for updates on ways to help Louisiana Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Rescue Program (LMMSTRP), which is coordinated by Audubon Aquarium. If you have any questions for me or would have ideas for blogging please feel free to check out Audubon’s Facebook page.
What will tomorrow hold? We never know but we are ready for anything and everything. Until then:
"For in the end, we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught."~Baba Dioum