Global Indemnity Re Supports Turtle Project

September 12, 2014

Global Indemnity Re has donated to the Bermuda Zoological Society’s [BZS] ongoing effort to conserve and protect Bermuda’s marine environment, with a one-time donation to go towards the society’s Bermuda Turtle Project, BZS’ signature conservation program.

Global Indemnity’s chief operating officer, MJ Chapleau, said, “Global Indemnity Re is pleased to be able to give to the Bermuda Zoological Society for their continued efforts in environment conservation.

“We believe that their work is very important, especially due to the fast-evolving environmental conditions that we are currently seeing.”

A spokesperson said, “The Bermuda Turtle Project began in 1968 by Dr. H.C. Frick, then as a part of the Caribbean Conservation Programme. Now, 46 years later, it continues to set a global standard in its research and practices.

“The project continues to study the life cycle of marine turtles, seeking to better understand these mysterious creatures, developing new and innovative ways to track their travels throughout the Atlantic, and to promote the conservation and protection of sea turtles, both locally and internationally.”

BZS Development Officer Lynda Johnson receives a donation from Global Indemnity Re’s Chief Operating Officer, MJ Chappeau; the funds have been earmarked for the work of the Bermuda Turtle Project [photo courtesy S. Westhead]

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“A key component of the Bermuda Turtle Project has been its annual in-water course. This course brings students and scientists from around the world to Bermuda to study the pelagic and juvenile phases of the marine turtle lifecycle, turtle biology and conservation through observation of the animals in their marine habitat, necropsies, and a capture-tag-release study.

“This year, 11 people took part in the two-week course, including Dogan Sozbilen of Turkey, Patricia Huerta of Mexico, Alice Mockford of Costa Rica, Leonardo Espinosa of Cuba, and Joan Tridade of Mozambique. There were also six participants from Bermuda – Cameron Bridgwater, Nick Coelho, Lianna Aggarwal, Michaela Ratteray, Gaelle Roth, and Leandra Stracquandanio.

“The course was led by visiting scientists, Drs. Anne and Peter Meylan, and course coordinator Jennifer Grey. They were assisted by Dr. Emma Harrison, the Sea Turtle Conservancy’s scientific director, Robert Hardy, satellite telemetry expert, and BZS’s Camilla Stringer, who was integral in helping plan and organize the course.

“Nearly all species of sea turtles are classified as endangered, and continued research and protection efforts are vital to their survival. They continue to be threatened by the hunting of adults and harvesting eggs for food, the loss of nesting beach sites from development and climate change, and injury and death due to human negligence – both from pollution and inattentive boaters.

“Human negligence is one of the greatest dangers to Bermuda’s population of sea turtles. During the course, participants studied the bodies of 13 different animals that had died in Bermuda, including 11 juvenile green turtles and two juvenile hawksbills. It was found that several showed scarring from boat strikes, and another died after swallowing three fishhooks.”

This juvenile green sea turtle lost its flipper after struggling with fishing line, cutting off circulation to the limb. He continues to recover and will be released in the future [photo courtesy S. Westhead]

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“This follows on the rescue of another injured juvenile green turtle. The turtle was found with fishing line wrapped so tightly around one of its flippers that it had cut off circulation. Unfortunately, the flipper had to be amputated, but thanks to the fine care by staff at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo, he continues to recover and is on track to be released into the wild when he is fully healed.

Bermuda Aquarium, Museum, and Zoo [BAMZ] Principal Curator Dr. Ian Walker said, “We regularly receive turtles that require rehabilitation resulting from boat strikes or entanglement with fishing line. Thankfully, the turtle that had its flipper amputated is doing extremely well and is slated for release as soon as the surgical wound heals completely.”

“The BZS is extremely grateful to Global Indemnity Re for their generous and timely donation. It provided much needed support for the program, which was a huge success this year. All of the international participants are returning to their homes with additional knowledge and skills.

“This, in turn, will help sea turtles in their countries, some of which will one day migrate to Bermuda waters. Our sea turtles are all visitors to the island and to help save them here, we must protect them regionally. The Bermuda Turtle Project course continues to spread knowledge and help build conservation capacity in other countries that we are linked to by the migration pathways of these amazing creatures.”

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Category: All, Environment

Comments (2)

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  1. SMH2 says:

    Thank you so much for caring about the turtles and making such a generous donation. How to find a way to encourage boaters and fisherman to take more care? ……….. How sad for those beautiful gentle creatures to be injured and killed by man’s carelessness.

  2. Great article about this wonderful joint project. Readers can learn more and follow the movements of Bermuda turtles tracked via satellite on this website: http://www.conserveturtles.org/bermuda.