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The Gulf's Great Turtle Relocation Project

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the moving-quickly dept.

Earth 104

An anonymous reader writes "All along the Gulf Coast's beaches it's turtle-hatching season. Conservationists knew the poor hatchlings wouldn't have a chance if they swam out into the oily waters of the Gulf, so they came up with an incredibly ambitious plan: they would dig up 70,000 turtle eggs, carefully raise them in a climate-controlled hanger at the Kennedy Space Center, and release the hatchlings into the clean Atlantic waters off Florida's east coast. Now that project is well underway, and Discover Magazine has pictures of the first batch of hatchlings crawling toward the welcoming waves. But there's a chance all this do-gooding won't do any good. New Scientist found experts who argue that releasing them into the Atlantic rather than into the Gulf will screw up the turtles' navigation systems, which will prevent them from following their normal migratory routes."

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104 comments

It's spelled with an 'a', dammit (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32933328)

carefully raise them in a climate-controlled hanger at the Kennedy Space Center

That's hangar [reference.com], not hanger [reference.com]. Like with separate, it's annoying how few people manage to get it right...

Re:It's spelled with an 'a', dammit (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32934274)

I praise BP for their efforts in relocating turtles, but I disagree with the decision to relocate them to heaven.

Re:It's spelled with an 'a', dammit (1)

Flyerman (1728812) | more than 3 years ago | (#32934914)

I would say this is a bad comparison. Unless you have a very specific set of hangar-based forums, you'd rarely see people use "hangar" anywhere near as much as "separate".

Maybe a car analogy? People who have to swerve across 2 lanes of traffic to reach the jughandle/exit? Might be less effective in Jersey...

Which beach? (4, Insightful)

The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933330)

So will the return to the beach they were released from? Or back to the ones in the gulf? I suspect this will make for some very interesting research in the future.

Re:Which beach? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32933362)

They will dutifully crawl out of the ocean and back into the KSC hangar in which they were raised. We'll subsequently hear about some rocket failing to achieve orbit when a clutch of turtle eggs mysteriously causes some malfunction.

Re:What Food? (2, Insightful)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933684)

I have to wonder - if all the baby turtles natural predators are already dead, and we go release ~70'000 healthy hand nurtured healthy turtles in an ecosystem whose balance has been totally screwed up, perhaps for many decades to come... whether we are just going to be heaping more shit on top of what we have already dumped on the system. The ecosystem does not care that turtles have big teary looking eyes - those little beak's still have to eat something...

Re:What Food? (5, Funny)

Gavin Scott (15916) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933886)

Indeed, and when those poor turtles have been exposed to all the toxic mutagens in the oil and the weird chemical dispersants that have been employed, we could all be in serious trouble once they become teenagers...

G.

Re:What Food? (3, Insightful)

The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933928)

Indeed, and when those poor turtles have been exposed to all the toxic mutagens in the oil and the weird chemical dispersants that have been employed, we could all be in serious trouble once they become teenagers...

G.

True, but thy still have to find a rat to train them...

Re:What Food? (1)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 3 years ago | (#32934080)

I hear people taste good basted in cocoa butter, aloe, or other flavors of SPF. The oceans around Florida are full of enticing human sized morsels.

Re:What Food? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32935384)

Have you ever tasted raw aloe? I have. It's extremely bitter and unpleasant. Lasts a while too. Stick with the cocoa butter and some dill

Re:What Food? (1)

Smauler (915644) | more than 3 years ago | (#32934648)

Just about all turtles are endangered - there are a hell of a lot less of them now than there were a few hundred years ago. We've already fucked up the ecosystem by killing most of the turtles.... What most turtles eat (jellyfish) don't seem to be endangered at all - the lack of turtles and other predators seems to be increasing jellyfish numbers. Too many turtles is not going to wreck the ocean biosphere any time soon.

Re:What Food? (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#32937128)

"...and we go release ~70'000 healthy hand nurtured healthy turtles..."

I wondered the same thing, so I went to TFA to look for photos of 70,000 turtles since I figured that'd be pretty cool to see. Most turtles I saw was a dozen, no photos of large hangars full of turtles or hundreds of containers full of eggs or anything, so I'm wondering where the other 69,988 turtles are, or if "70,000" was just the number of turtle eggs usually laid each year and they used that number but have no intention of actually saving 70,000 turtle eggs.

Look at the bright side (5, Insightful)

meerling (1487879) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933342)

Maybe they'll end up establishing new populations in different locations.
It's certainly better to give them the chance rather than simply let them be exterminated.

I know, it's a complex situation with many variables that can't even be fully defined, much less accounted for. That's true, but we can only try to mitigate this disaster as best we can, or sit back and complain about those who are trying to fix it. Your choice.

Re:Look at the bright side (3, Insightful)

Huntr (951770) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933440)

Sometimes doing SOMETHING is worse than not doing anything. Don't be pissed at ecologists who have legit concerns about the turtles. Save that for BP and the gov't response.

Re:Look at the bright side (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32933524)

Don't be pissed at ecologists...

(Assumed GP was male) I don't think he was; his reply was very moderate in fact.

That said, how could leaving the turtles to be wiped out be better than rescuing them and giving them a chance at an unpredictable future? I suppose if they go on to wipe out 2 species because of the change in habitat or something.

Re:Look at the bright side (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#32935094)

FWIW, there's the bit about: "carefully raise them in a climate-controlled hanger" that reminds me of what some bright sparks did in my country (when trying to be helpful):

They collected lots of turtle eggs and incubated them to try to increase survival rates. However ALL the hatchlings turned out to be females.

Turtle gender is determined by the temperature of the eggs:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6V5X-4002DP2-4&_user=10&_coverDate=12%2F31%2F1995&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1403037906&_rerunOrigin=google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=8218153421fb6ec52b5f99062d99f544 [sciencedirect.com]

If there aren't that many eggs from that species, screwing up the gender ratio might be worse than just leaving them in "mama turtle" selected spots (and depths).

In this case I'm guessing that the climate controlled hanger will generate a more natural gender ratio (which probably includes at least one male per generation ;) ).

Re:Look at the bright side (2, Insightful)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933584)

Sometimes doing something can be worse than not doing anything - that can be true sometimes, but nobody has suggested it's the case here. However the question has been asked "Why not place them into an area that is thought to be part of their normal migratory route?" Which is an interesting point.

Of course it's not like the US Fish and Wildlife Service hasn't considered that. [...] releasing the turtles on sand allows scientists to assess how they are coping with the move. The process also mimics turtles' natural behaviour.

I don't know which side has it right, all involved appear to have arrived at their conclusions by thoroughly considering the alternatives. I don't think it's very useful to delude ourselves that we can determine the correct approach just from a quick glance at a headline. There are lots of complex issues around - that's just the way the world works.

Re:Look at the bright side (4, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933716)

Consider it risk mitigation. There's some risk relocating them and there's more certain risk NOT relocating them. They're quite unlikely to relocate all of them. This maximizes the odds of some surviving.

Re:Look at the bright side (0)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933662)

Meh, it's not like they're moving all the turtles. They're just spreading them around a bit. Most baby turtles get eaten anyway (survival rate from hatching is something like 1/100?), so at worst they're expanding the culinary variety of wildlife out on the panhandle. So we're really talking about ~700 turtles that might reach adulthood, which isn't really all that terribly many in the scheme of things.

Yeah, doing nothing means no one can hold you accountable for anything. There people who are perfectly happy to live their lives that way. But all the same, I'm glad there are some people who take the initiative and then stand behind their actions, for better or for worse; you could spin it either way.

Re:Look at the bright side (2, Insightful)

rollingcalf (605357) | more than 3 years ago | (#32934282)

Their survival rate is likely to be much higher than usual, because the eggs that are relocated in this project won't be dug up and eaten by animals, and the hatchlings also won't be killed by predators when making their way to the sea.

Re:Look at the bright side (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32934494)

The panhandle is on the gulf side.

Re:Look at the bright side (1, Flamebait)

jafiwam (310805) | more than 3 years ago | (#32936202)

No. Complaining about a solution that may not work over one that definitely won't because the one that is a "maybe" is unknown is stupid egghead bullshit.

There's a reason you fucking nerds never get laid. Sometimes you just gotta cut your losses and deal with the fat chick.

The criticism of "what will it do to migratory patterns" is hopelessly detail oriented in a big picture that should be very obvious.

Out of 70k turtle babies, only a handful of them will survive in non-oil soaked condition in the first place.

The ecologists do not have legit concerns. They are simply doing what dumb narrow minded over specialized dorks do and should in this case, be ignored.

Re:Look at the bright side (5, Funny)

copponex (13876) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933450)

That's true, but we can only try to mitigate this disaster as best we can, or sit back and complain about those who are trying to fix it. Your choice.

This is slashdot. Brace yourself.

Re:Look at the bright side (0, Offtopic)

Dalambertian (963810) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933532)

I meant to mod this funny. accidentally hit overrated. wish there were an undo button..

Re:Look at the bright side (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933600)

Well, you could post a comment, thus negating your mods to this thread. Why don't you do that?

Yes, I know, whooosh, and all that. I'm on the east coast and could use a little circulation.

Re:Look at the bright side (2, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933612)

This is slashdot. Brace yourself.

Bracing yourself is futile, and only idiots would try it.

Re:Look at the bright side (3, Funny)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 3 years ago | (#32934626)

This is slashdot. Brace yourself.

You're imagining a Beowulf cluster of turtle hatchlings, aren't you.

Re:Look at the bright side (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#32936282)

This is slashdot. Brace yourself.

You're imagining a Beowulf cluster of turtle hatchlings, aren't you.

No, he's imagining turtle hatchlings naked in hot grits.

Re:Look at the bright side (5, Interesting)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933578)

Maybe they'll end up establishing new populations in different locations.
It's certainly better to give them the chance rather than simply let them be exterminated.

I think it's important to note that while 70,000 eggs seems like a lot, it comes from only 800 nests in two states. Turtles lay a lot of eggs, because most of them are not going to survive in any case.

The point here is that they're hardly moving all the turtle hatchlings to the east coast, so if moving them is futile or even detrimental compared to leaving them in the Gulf, that'll be apparent in the outcome of the sea turtles that will hatch in the sands of the Gulf coast. On the other hand, if they have even a chance to survive in the Atlantic while the Gulf ends up being certain death for the turtles left there, then that's a huge win. The species occurs naturally on the Atlantic coast, so it's not like we're introducing a new species with potentially detrimental consequences.

There's very little downside here, and the potential for a huge upside. The experts may be right that it is futile, but it is absolutely worth trying and I commend these folks for it.

Re:Look at the bright side (2, Insightful)

whoda (569082) | more than 3 years ago | (#32934568)

Putting non-native species into alternate natural environments has never led to any problems...

Re:Look at the bright side (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32935320)

Somebodies got to save the wee turtles!

ACH! Save me from the wee turtles!

A Waste Of Time (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32933392)

This seems like a nice touch-feely do-good project, but just ultimately futile.

The turtles will probably just head back the the gulf anyway, and then die out there.

Sometimes the best option is to do nothing and let nature take its course. We have to stop the plug the oil spill first, clean up the mess, and then worry about the stupid animals.

Re:A Waste Of Time (5, Insightful)

garyisabusyguy (732330) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933516)

This study shows how the east coast turtles make their way to the gulf stream using; visual cues, wave direction and (finally) magnetic direction:
http://www.unc.edu/depts/oceanweb/turtles/offshr.html [unc.edu]

They do not show any info on how they make their way back.
What information are you using to determine that they will just wander back to the gulf?

At the very least this will give a great study on the 'homing' tendencies of turtles. Do they reurn to where they were hatched (learned behavior) or do they return to where their genetic forebearers lived (genetic imprinting)?

What advantage do you see to allowing them to die? Is it simply less work for humans? And if those people were not already actively invovled in fixing the well or cleaning up sludge, what negative effect could it have on those efforts?

Re:A Waste Of Time (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32934376)

It's waste of money. What's the benefit of saving the damn turtles?

In my home country people have been trying to save the damn sea turtle for a damn long time. Look it up: the Sea Turtle Project in Brazil. They look for the nest in beaches and project their surroundings to (greatly) increase survival chances.

You know what that's useless? Because if you stop to do it, the Sea Turtle population will starting becoming smaller again. It was going to vanish anyway. But people feel good protecting it. The environment changes. Species die. That's it. It seems cruel but it just how it works.

People seem to think man-made environmental change is different than nature-made. Wake up. Men is part of nature. The Gulf oil spill is no different than a beaver damn collapsing - besides the scale.

And if you someday drop by a Northeastern Brazil beach, rent a car, go a small coastal town and try a Sea Turtle soup dish - it's kinda of rare, due to protection laws and you may have to look for a while. Ask also for cachaça, the local alcoholic beverage. And chili. It's amazingly good.

Re:A Waste Of Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32935086)

They have tea partiers in brazil?!?!

Re:A Waste Of Time (2, Interesting)

atomicthumbs (824207) | more than 3 years ago | (#32935396)

So it's bad to try to fix something we screwed up?

Re:A Waste Of Time (0, Flamebait)

daveime (1253762) | more than 3 years ago | (#32936102)

And while we're at it, let's blame that bitch Mother Nature for wiping out all the Raptors ?

Just when you think you've heard the dumbest thing possible, someone comes along and breaks the record. Congratulations parent for making my day.

Sad (4, Funny)

ceraphis (1611217) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933394)

This is really sad, I always liked turtles. And frogs.

We may soon see a rash of BP stations being razed with the only clue being some discarded pizza boxes.

Re:Sad (0, Flamebait)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933554)

that'd be typical since most BP stations are privately owned, so torching them would only hurt the families that own them not BP.

i'd expect no less given the level of brain activity i've seen from protestors.

Re:Sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32933752)

And who do all the profits get siphoned off to? You are BP saying "no, no, don't hurt us, because actually you'll be hurting, 'some one else'."

Re:Sad (3, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933570)

Dude, there wouldn't be any Mutant Ninja Turtles in the first place were it not for chemicals in the water!

Sure, I can see the disadvantage... (5, Interesting)

garyisabusyguy (732330) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933406)

That the 'experts' are worrying about, but really... what are the other options?

What are the potential outcomes of letting the hatchlings make their way into the polluted water?
    Turtles die of exposure to oil
    Turtles survive because all the predators have already died from the oil
    Most turtles die, except for a few that have a natural ability to survive on oil
    Surviving turtles attack remaining oil reservoirs and consume them

Seriously, I think that the people who have committed themselves to preventing a straight up die off of an entire generation of gulf-coast turtles should be commended as heros.

fwiw, I hope that the 70K extra turtle on the Atlantic coast overwhelm the natural predators and allow more hatchlings to reach adulthood. Is there a chance that the introduced population could displace the natives? Possibly.

What have been the results of other navigating species (salmon, birds, monarch butterflies...) who are relocated?

Re:Sure, I can see the disadvantage... (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933498)

What are the potential outcomes of letting the hatchlings make their way into the polluted water?

Turtles die of exposure to oil

Turtles survive because all the predators have already died from the oil

Most turtles die, except for a few that have a natural ability to survive on oil

Surviving turtles attack remaining oil reservoirs and consume them

Note, for reference, that on average, 1 sea turtle in 1000 lives to adulthood. So we'd normally expect 70 of them to survive.

I expect that we'll never be able to tell whether this has done any good at all...

Re:Sure, I can see the disadvantage... (1)

DougWebb (178910) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933542)

Maybe all of the (surviving) predators that normally kill most of the baby turtles will still be looking for them in the Gulf, and next year there is going to be a turtle plague in Eastern Florida.

Re:Sure, I can see the disadvantage... (1)

Undead Waffle (1447615) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933640)

Or there will be a plague in eastern Florida of sharks or elephants or whatever it is that eats turtles.

Re:Sure, I can see the disadvantage... (1)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 3 years ago | (#32934166)

Or there will be a plague in eastern Florida of sharks or elephants or whatever it is that eats turtles.

[[Sea turtle#Importance to humans]] [wikipedia.org]

A plague of humans in eastern Florida? I'm afraid it is a bit late to worry about that!

Re:Sure, I can see the disadvantage... (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933750)

On the bright side only the slowest teens will fall to the invading horde.

Re:Sure, I can see the disadvantage... (1)

garyisabusyguy (732330) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933556)

Perhaps they could sample the genetics of hatchlings and see if there are descendants of gulf turtles emerging from atlantic beaches in the next several years?

Hell, if people are willing to move 70k eaggs, then why wouldn't they be willing to swab a few thousands turtles, "for the sake of science"

Re:Sure, I can see the disadvantage... (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 3 years ago | (#32936116)

Most turtles die, except for a few that have a natural ability to survive on oil

And then BP can train them up to plug the holes in all their other leaking wells.

Re:Sure, I can see the disadvantage... (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#32936230)

I expect that we'll never be able to tell whether this has done any good at all...

Actually, if any turtle populations are established on the east coast, we'll know if it's done any good at all. Especially if populations decline in the gulf, which they are almost guaranteed to do.

Re:Sure, I can see the disadvantage... (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 3 years ago | (#32936798)

I expect that we'll never be able to tell whether this has done any good at all...

Actually, if any turtle populations are established on the east coast, we'll know if it's done any good at all. Especially if populations decline in the gulf, which they are almost guaranteed to do.

Since there are already turtle populations on the east coast, we won't notice the addition of about 70 adult turtles in a few years.

And even the Kemp Ridley sea turtles can be found in the Atlantic from time to time, so finding a few more of them doesn't really tell us much.

Re:Sure, I can see the disadvantage... (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933586)

Birds and butterflies can actually adjust their migration patterns if you offset their starting points. Don't ask me how they do it, I don't think anybody has figured that out yet.

Re:Sure, I can see the disadvantage... (2, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#32934634)

"Hey, where're ya goin'?"
"Winter feeding grounds... I think"
"You're going the wrong way"
"Damn humans. Mind if I follow you?"
"Be my guest."

Re:Sure, I can see the disadvantage... (4, Funny)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933712)

You missed one outcome:
- Turtles grow to their teenage years, mutate and then move into the city sewers placing a strain on pizza joints who are unable to figure out where to deliver the pizza.

Re:Sure, I can see the disadvantage... (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#32935120)

Another advantage of the east coast is that Louisiana is evidently not enforcing turtle exclusion devices for the fishing boats. Even most of the gulf coast seems to be more concerned with maximizing fish productivity at any cost. It may that the some turtles might survive the oil. It could be that some turtles might not be caught in fishing nets. It may not be that they survive both. Therefore moving east is a good thing.

Re:Sure, I can see the disadvantage... (1)

mqduck (232646) | more than 3 years ago | (#32935910)

That the 'experts' are worrying about

What's with the scare quotes? Are you implying that you're the *real* expert here?

always nay-sayers (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933428)

You are always going to have people complain, even if you came up with a 100% clean, 100% efficient new energy source there would be some people who complain the miss the taste of pollution or something. Will the turtles die?

His view is backed up by evidence that suggests turtles are programmed from birth to follow a specific migratory path once in water. Indeed, turtles from different nesting sites seem to inherit different sets of navigational instructions.

Basically, in the past they have exposed turtles (in tanks?) to magnetic fields and found that they follow the magnetic fields as if they were navigating through the ocean. It kind of surprises me that no one has ever taken a turtle from Texas and put it in the ocean in Florida just to see what would happen. Here is their chance: hope they pay attention to what the turtles do.

Re:always nay-sayers (2, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933718)

It kind of surprises me that no one has ever taken a turtle from Texas and put it in the ocean in Florida just to see what would happen.

Well, that's my vacation plans settled.

Airline Check-in in Texas: "Two for Florida? Um, where's the other passenger?"

Me: "It's this here turtle."

On the airplane . . .

Me: "Stewardess, another Martini for me and another squid for the turtle."

Stewardess: "I think you've had enough, sir."

Me: "Don't worry, the turtle is driving."

Re:always nay-sayers (1)

The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933974)

It kind of surprises me that no one has ever taken a turtle from Texas and put it in the ocean in Florida just to see what would happen.

Well, that's my vacation plans settled.

Airline Check-in in Texas: "Two for Florida? Um, where's the other passenger?"

Me: "It's this here turtle."

On the airplane . . .

Me: "Stewardess, another Martini for me and another squid for the turtle."

Stewardess: "I think you've had enough, sir."

Me: "Don't worry, the turtle is driving."

Just don't fly AirTran. [msn.com]

Re:always nay-sayers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32934480)

For years they brought sea turtle eggs from Mexico to repopulate Texas beaches.

best thing is to try both ideas (3, Funny)

cats-paw (34890) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933444)

release 1/2 from the sand
release 1/2 out to sea

Then we'll know, right ?

Re:best thing is to try both ideas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32937474)

If you meant, leave 1/2 in place, and move and release the other 1/2 in Florida,
then I agree completely!

But maybe the biologists know more about what will work already, from having studied it? Maybe someone somewhere did research on what would happen... wish we'd see a link to something.

Enviro-fascist do-goodery (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32933448)

FAIL

Take that enviro-fascists. Once again nature proves that giving 2 shits about the "environment" is a waste of time.

more cancelled vacations (1)

get_your_guns (1380583) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933504)

So the west coast of Florida is having vacations cancelled because of the oil and now with the release of 50-60,000 confused turtles attracting sharks in a feeding frenzy now the east coast of Florida will suffer as the vacation are cancelled there also.

Lost at sea beats drowned in BP's gulf . . . (1)

wrencherd (865833) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933506)

. . . but not by much.

It's a chance, though as one of the experts in TFA said, "Why not place them into an area that is thought to be part of their normal migratory route?"

I thought that there are loggerheads on the Atlantic/eastern seaboard beaches? Are the gulf turtles so different that they could not survive the change?

Not Clear We'll Know the Outcome (2, Informative)

dangle (1381879) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933562)

Nowhere have I seen any information about tagging the turtles to monitor their progress. It might be impossible given their small size at birth in comparison to their adult size, and the fact that this population takes about 18 years to reach sexual maturity. The LAT has a few more details: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-oil-spill-turtles-20100715,0,2244379.story [latimes.com]

Relocated to stainless steel tubs .... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32933664)

then placed over a flame and lightly seasoned. Mmmm turtle soup.

I thought the same thing! Bergoo Soup! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32933934)

I think aborted baby turtles in the Bergoo Soup taste better, because when you rip the ovarian cyst-like eggs out of the mother turtles back after ripping her shell off, the eggshells are underdeveloped to give a cool refreshing taste when the calcium hits stomach acid. Tastes even better when they're harvested from living gravid females. There is even a wonderful French cuisine that can be cooked from their brains, but I don't trust that because there's a number of pathogens that can be imposed onto whomever eats. I'll stick with buttery turtle babies out of sterile ovarian tissue, thankyouverymuch.

Re:I thought the same thing! Bergoo Soup! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32934920)

Just think, if this doesn't work we'll be 70,000 turtles closer to people like you never being able to post about this stuff again. Once they're gone, they're gone, and you'll have to go back to eating boring old veal when you want to piss the weaker-stomached folk off.

Re:I thought the same thing! Bergoo Soup! (1)

atomicthumbs (824207) | more than 3 years ago | (#32935410)

Serious comment: fortunately, the French eat land turtles, not sea turtles. Most land turtles aren't quite as endangered.

Re:I thought the same thing! Bergoo Soup! (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 3 years ago | (#32936122)

Most land turtles aren't quite as endangered.

So couldn't we teach them to swim and solve the problem that way ?

Duh? (3, Informative)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933878)

The same species that nest in the Gulf also nest on the East Coast of Florida which is oil free. The real issue is whether the built in homing instinct for nesting will be to the original nest or to the transplant nest from which they emerge. I have no knowledge of whether the issue has ever been studied. Either way it is still a big problem as the East Coast breeding grounds may not support additional nests as over population and erosion take their toll on natural conditions.

Since no one else said it (1)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 3 years ago | (#32933892)

No one else seems to have said it, so I guess it's up to me.

The Turtle Moves!

How far? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32934140)

Do they just need to rescue the turtles on the surface, or is it turles all the way down?

Turtle relocation is easy (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32934232)

RIGHT 90
RIGHT 90
FORWARD 100

oil burned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32934544)

I wonder how many barrels of oil was used to power the machines that brought the volunteers to the beaches, dig up the nests, move the eggs, plant the neats, etc...

Re:oil burned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32938164)

Far fewer than were used to build and ship your computer so you could post your wondering on /.

Svetz - Fetch me a Turtle... (0, Troll)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 3 years ago | (#32934786)

All this reminds me of those old Larry Niven stories, where some time-traveling nave in the future goes back in time to get whatever animal is requested by the dim-witted ruler. Extinct, mythical, doesn't matter, in the future, they are all things that don't exist, and all the same.

Turtles? Never seen one. Exist, doesn't exist... all the same to me.

If they can't survive, they should have evolved better. Oil is a natural product. Do you want them to survive lava flows too?

Something else will succeed Homo Sapiens as the "dominant" species on this planet someday, and they probably won't worry about our demise. And so it goes.

Re:Svetz - Fetch me a Turtle... (1)

Vegeta99 (219501) | more than 3 years ago | (#32934952)

You've never seen a turtle?!? Where do you live??

I guess I'm on the opposite end of the scale from you, I've CRASHED A CAR because of a fucking snapping turtle!

Re:Svetz - Fetch me a Turtle... (1)

atomicthumbs (824207) | more than 3 years ago | (#32935426)

Yes, oil is natural; it's naturally underground. Perhaps you also subscribe to Rush Limbaugh's theory [rushlimbaugh.com] that since it's natural, it'll go away without us doing anything.

Re:Svetz - Fetch me a Turtle... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32940204)

Oh, you're disassociated. How emo of you.

Oil is a natural product. Oil slicks this size are not. Equating any animal dying due to the toxins in oil to evolution is about the most ignorant thing I've ever seen someone write.

Can we dunk you in crude and see how you handle it?

Of course we wouldn't expect a turtle to survive in a lava flow, stop being a moron.

It's very much like people living at the bottom of a volcano. If it erupts, you die or get away. If you survive, you move away from the volcano.* We're moving turtles because we would rather save them the time of dying by the thousand before they figured it out. I'm sure they would figure it out eventually, but why bother letting them die due to our mistake? This situation is all about correcting horrendous mistakes. We're lessening the impact of our screw ups. That's part of responsibility.

*- Obviously people move back, there is no accounting for these types of people.

Re:Svetz - Fetch me a Turtle... (1)

jprupp (697660) | more than 3 years ago | (#32941836)

The turtles have probably evolved very well. I mean, their cuteness makes us humans feel sorry for them and help them survive. Appealing to another species that can benefit their long term survival is a relative advantages. I'm sure not many people would care if a disgusting creature like the cockroach goes extinct, unless that would become a problem for a more liked creature.

I think turtles are going to do just fine, if only because some of us help them out when they are having a hard time. It's fortunate that humans can act on behalf of other creatures, new generations tend have a soft spot for biodiversity.

I for one would like to see that my grandchildren will have the opportunity to see such a wonderful creature. Even if they might not care, I don't see why we should leave them to face extinction. Biodiversity can benefit us in ways that go beyond simple exotic amusement.

Now I think this is not a task that should be covered by the government with taxpayer funds, but rather by private foundations.

This will become the norm (1)

Eclipse-now (987359) | more than 3 years ago | (#32934936)

As far as I can tell, there are 6 main ways we are systematically destroying ecosystems. (Not including global warming!) Through what I call the 6 p’s of ecosystem destruction [wordpress.com] we are systematically taking nature and paving it over, ploughing it up, polluting it, preying on predators, spreading pests, and over-populating the entire planet!

So as well as the normal conservation programs, I'm guessing we are going to see more of these radical interventions to try and same some of the biodiversity on this planet.

Ok... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32936628)

What. The. Fuck. We're doomed, right?

A+ for effort though (2, Insightful)

JasoninKS (1783390) | more than 3 years ago | (#32936766)

Even if the turtle's navigation is goofed because of the relocation, at least the people from this project are trying something. I can certainly applaud that. Better to give these turtles a fighting chance than sending them to definite doom.

Go turtles! (1)

koan (80826) | more than 3 years ago | (#32937076)

This way they have a chance, and I think most people underestimate the adaptability of animals, they may be fine navigation wise, but what will they come back to?

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