During an early morning in January 2017 myself and two other biologists @whoopsy
found this green sea turtle stuck in the overhanging vegetation on a nesting beach on Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea through the @biokomarineturtleprogram
. She was struggling to free herself, but her front flippers were twisted in the root system. We did our best to release her as gently as possible, and as soon as she was free, she headed directly back towards the ocean relatively unscathed!
Green and hawksbill turtles typically select nesting sites behind the vegetation line, which is why this female had tired to pass the high tide line to find the dry sand farther up the beach. Instead of finding a smooth, climable beach slope, she found an insurmountable berm and became entangled. We spent 5 months modeling sea level rise on the 5 nesting beaches on Bioko as part of my master's thesis research, and unfortunately this was not an isolated incident.
Today as part of #SeaTurtleWeek
we are celebrating green turtles and discussing the threat of #climatechange
. As sea level rise and beach erosion are occurring much more rapidly than shoreline retreat, these stark vegetation berms and trees with visible roots systems are becoming more prevalent and causing yet another threat to nesting females: entanglement. Furthermore, when turtles cannot pass the vegetation line and in turn nest in front of the berms, their nests are at an increased risk from tidal inundation (egg suffocation). At times conservation work can be discouraging, but it's important to remember that no matter how small our efforts feel at the time, EVERY individual counts! It was so encouraging to be at the right place at the right time to make a difference for this one!
#seaturtle #seaturtles #wildlife #wildlifeconservation #animals #animalrescue #ocean #oceanconservation #WomeninSTEM #Bioko #Africa #Equatorial