‘The Rise And Fall Of Bermuda’s Sea Turtle’

February 17, 2022

Bermuda Turtle Project Feb 2022Bermuda College and the Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce [BEST] have announced the return of their Eco Lunch & Learn series on Thursday, February 24.

A spokesperson said, “The series begins its winter schedule with an illustrated presentation, ‘The Rise and Fall of Bermuda’s Sea Turtle.’

“Presenting will be Bermudian Jennifer Gray, Director of the Bermuda Turtle Project. The Bermuda Turtle Project is a cooperative effort of the Bermuda Aquarium and Zoo, the Bermuda Zoological Society and the Sea Turtle Conservancy.

“Jennifer is well known for her decades of employment with the Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo, as Director of the Bermuda Turtle Project and the first Coordinator for the Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan for Bermuda. More recently she served as the Executive Director of the Bermuda National Trust.

“She has shaped programmes to raise the awareness of the interactions between nature and people on our fragile oceanic island and has nurtured many wild animals including hand rearing orphaned seals, Longtails and Cahows, healing injured and unwell sea turtles and saving magnificent whales. Outside of Bermuda Jennifer serves as a Country Coordinator for WIDECAST [Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Network] and is a member of the IUCN Marine Turtle Specialist Group [MTSG].

“Jennifer began looking after sea turtles in 1977 and took a lead role on the Bermuda Turtle Project in 1990. Over the years she has witnessed many changes in Bermudas environment and sea turtle aggregations.”

Amy Harvey, the Earth and Environmental Science lecturer at the Bermuda College, said, ‘Turtles worldwide are threatened with some 61% of existing species currently considered endangered. These majestic creatures have survived millennia but will they survive the threats imposed on them by us modern humans? Habitat destruction, overexploitation and climate change are some of the anthropocentric causes for their demise.

“These amazing creatures are key in ecosystem functions and do all kinds of services for free such as nutrient cycling, seed germination and reef cleaning. They help to increase the productivity of sea grasses as well as help maintain healthy reefs. Both seagrasses and reefs are integral in carbon cycling and helping to buffer against the impacts of climate change.

“Bermuda has been a trailblazer in protection of sea turtles since the early 1600s. Long may it continue as the survival of turtles is integral to the overall health of our marine ecosystems.’

Green Turtle Bermuda Feb 2022

Jennifer Flood, BEST Executive Officer, said, ‘Turtle association with Bermuda goes back eons – turtles after all date back some 200 million years – well before Bermuda became a more or less permanent island between one and two million years ago.

“Turtles not only survived but thrived throughout that long period hardly bothered by the mass extinctions that saw the demise of huge numbers of species including the dinosaurs. They did not fare so well once humans arrived in Bermuda, when turtles were seen as an easy, abundant food source. My association is much more recent – swimming at a local beach in the summer months and having turtles popping their heads up for air – though I like to think it was to greet us in true Bermuda fashion.

“These occurrences really made my day. What tenacious survivors they truly are. The more we learn about them the more remarkable they become. Jennifer has spent decades with the turtles and will be sharing her wealth of information with us. We owe it to turtles and future generations that they should not only continue to visit us here, but hopefully begin breeding once again.’

The spokesperson said, “Please join us for this free presentation, on Thursday, February 24th, from 1pm to 2pm.

“No registration is required. Simply join us on the day via Facebook or on Bermuda College’s YouTube page. The presentation is followed by a lively Q & A. The audience is encouraged to submit their questions via the chat options on both YouTube and Facebook.”

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  1. Barbara Nahoumi says:

    Hopefully the turtles will devour jellyfish which swarm Bermuda’s beaches, so swimmers will not be stung.