Within our walls is a safe haven for our state’s sea turtles. Here, you’ll hear the shuffle of medical supplies and whoosh of tanks, you’ll feel the spirited hustle and bustle of a care facility in constant movement and you’ll meet a compassionate team of sea turtle biologists and veterinarians treating sick and injured sea turtles.
And as the Sea Turtle Care Center™ works diligently in our little corner of the world, likeminded organizations in their own parts of the globe are helping ensure sea turtles have a healthy future in our oceans.
Sea Turtle Conservation Beyond Our Walls
Amplifying these efforts are entities like the State of the World’s Sea Turtles (SWOT) and the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Sea Turtle SAFE (Saving Animals from Extinction) Program. Along with other zoos and aquariums, the South Carolina Aquarium plays a leadership role with Sea Turtle SAFE.
The overall goal of the AZA Sea Turtle SAFE Program is to make significant contributions to the conservation of sea turtles by utilizing the collective resources of the AZA community to secure sustainable populations. One of those invaluable resources is the AZA’s partnership with the SWOT, a globally focused program that combines science with education, outreach and action to advance sea turtle conservation worldwide.
Merging their efforts, SWOT and the Sea Turtle SAFE Program are making additional grants available for projects related to the conservation of two of the top global priorities for sea turtle conservation — eastern Pacific leatherbacks and Kemp’s ridleys — and funding and fostering communities of sea turtle conservationists. These AZA SWOT grants are enabling the following:
- Marine Conservation without Borders to develop a middle school science curriculum on sea turtles for students in Quintana Roo written in Spanish and English and ethno-translated into Maya.
- The Mazunte Project in Oaxaca to conduct mobile dog spay/neuter and education events along the Pacific coast of Oaxaca in order to decrease the canine predation of sea turtle eggs and hatchlings at these important nesting habitats
- Palmarito Sea Turtle Rescue, Inc. to establish hatcheries and train local volunteers to patrol nesting beaches in Oaxaca and to properly relocate and monitor eastern Pacific leatherback nests to protected hatcheries
- The Patricia Huerta Rodriguez project to address threats to Kemp’s ridleys in Tamaulipas by targeting various stakeholders with educational talks and printed materials that address key issues including pollution, the consumption of turtle eggs, bycatch reduction technology and nesting beach protection
- The Veracruzano Coral Reef System National Marine Park (Parque Nacional Sistema Arrecifal Veracruzano) to lead an educational workshop in conjunction with park administration, local fisherfolk and private tourist boats to help decrease sea turtle and boat interactions
Here in the United States, a grant was awarded to Sea Turtle Recovery in New Jersey to help build and train a team of local volunteers to properly handle and transport cold-stunned turtles.
Many For a Single Mission
Meanwhile, U.S. legislatures are taking steps to fund sea turtle rehabilitation facilities across the nation — facilities just like the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Care Center.
As organizations and governing bodies big and small, and in all parts of the globe, make their own impact toward a single mission, one thing remains clear: Only together can we save sea turtles.
Many thanks to SWOT for providing this information and for their work in partnership with AZA Sea Turtle SAFE to conserve and protect sea turtles the world over.
Explore the Sea Turtle Care Center and see how we’re saving sea turtles in our own little corner of the world.
Published June 8, 2022