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    Dove Key Ranch Wildlife Rehabilitation - Animal of the Month

    World Turtle Day

    Top ten ways Texans can help our turtles and tortoises
    in honor of World Turtle Day

    by Bonnie Wroblewski
    Happy World Turtle Day! The American Tortoise Rescue (http://www.tortoise.com) has officially sponsored World Turtle Day every May 23rd since 2000 in order to garner respect and support for turtles and tortoises around the globe. As Texans, we are privileged to share our land and shores with a huge diversity of turtles, tortoises, and terrapins. In keeping with the spirit of the holiday, Iíll be presenting a list of the top ten ways you can help our chelonian neighbors survive and thrive across the Lone Star state, one tip a day for the next ten days.
    Loggerhead Sea Turtle
    A 257 lb Loggerhead sea turtle recovering from amputation of her left front flipper at the Turtle Hospital in Marathon, FL. Her flipper had become entangled in a lobster trap pot line and was too damaged to be saved.

    1. Throw away your trash in a garbage can and pick up any trash you findÖeven if itís not yours.

    Improperly discarded beverage six-pack plastic rings, fishing line, and ropes can entangle terrestrial and aquatic turtles, causing strangulation, shell deformations, amputations, infected wounds, inability to swallow leading to starvation, or reduced mobility causing increased susceptibility to predation. Jellyfish-loving Leatherback, Loggerhead, Green, Kempís Ridley, and Hawksbill sea turtles mistakenly gulp plastic bags and balloons, leading to slow deaths from starvation and infection. Large helium balloon releases are nothing more than potential sea turtle massacres drifting across the sky. Carelessly tossed fishing tackle turns into hook-filled meals for hapless water turtles attracted to their bait-y smell and/or enticing, colorful shapes. An ornate box turtle normally attracted to naturally-produced carrion may ingest the wrapper encasing a half-eaten hamburger tossed along the roadside, leading to at best an upset digestive tract and at worst a fatal impaction.

    Reducing litter in your work and play surroundings will not only ensure the health and safety of turtles, but will also create a better environment for other wildlife and humans alike. After all, who wants to dodge plastic water bottles during a romantic stroll on the beach, or pull up one of those infamous Trilene fish while casting for trophy bass, or have their cattle field fencing festooned with countless tattered plastic bags?

    See Top ten ways Texans can help our turtles and tortoises:
    Tip 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10

    © Bonnie Wroblewski
    http://www.dovekeywildlife.org
    May 23, 2011
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