Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Latest Strandings news

Hello all,

Just thought we'd give you an update on the latest regarding the sea turtle strandings and other news from Akazul.

Sadly, despite the super trooper efforts of the individuals involved in rescuing and tending to the sick sea turtles- the last remaining survivors died on Saturday 21st May. Tissue samples were taken during necropsies from several turtles and have been sent for analysis in Hawaii. Thanks to Arcas for arranging the permits.

It has been an amazing effort by those involved during this crisis and writing from my desk in the UK I feel that several people deserve a special mention. Firstly, my fellow Akazul team mates Scott and Sarah have really been exceptional in responding to this incident and have, I feel, done Akazul proud in showing the rest of the world who we are and what we do.

Sarah tending to one of the turtles

Alice Lee has been a rock during all of this and has selflessly been there in the thick of things making such a massive contribution to sea turtle conservation.

Alice feeding one of the strandings

Akazul's efforts have been in collaboration with Protortugas who instigated and joined us during at sea monitoring, provided materials and veterinary assistance throughout this time.

Scott and Protortugas

Thanks also to Arcas for letting us use their facilities in Parque Hawaii to tend to sick turtles.

There are also many individuals around the world, and also in the local communities near Parque Hawaii, who responded to our call for help and expertise, many thanks to all these people.

It seems for the time being that the strandings have ceased and now we are really just waiting for analysis from the tissue samples to find out what is responsible for causing this huge impact on the olive ridley population. We will let you know as soon as we have news on this.

From barnacle experts to Guatemalan Breakfast TV viewers- lots of positive response has come from what was a bad situation, and we will focus on these positives to push forwards our work. Please check again for the latest.



Please follow the link to see the article published by Wildlife Extra

Friday, 13 May 2011

Mass Stranding of Olive Ridleys Guatemala May 2011

Dear friends,

I am writing with sad and distressing news today from Guatemala. We are right in the middle of a mass Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) stranding event. Last Sunday (1st of May) we had 4 stranded olive ridleys wash up on the Pacific coast in the department of Santa Rosa. Then four days later we had a further 12 strandings (6 alive & 6 dead) in the same part of the coast.

Scott (Akazul) with stranded L.olivacea

All live turtles have been in a state of debilitation- epibiota (algae and barnacles) on the body, flippers and plastron indicating prolonged periods of floating at sea, emaciation (concave plastrons & no fat), and dehydration (sunken eyes etc). Those that have been necropsied have had enlarged livers, cachexia (body wasting) and emphysema in the lungs.

Mariachi at sea with a female L.olivacea

Several trips out to sea have been made to look for more sick turtles and on Tuesday 10th May 2 more sick females were brought in. Then on the 11th May on another trip 12 more were found, 6 of which have been brought in for treatment.

Jaime Perez (Protortugas) at sea looking for sick turtles

Our total so far is 30 turtles (a mixture of both males and females) and there are countless more still yet to be found out at sea.

Collecting debilitated turtles at sea

We have been working in conjunction with our friends Protortugas, experienced veterinarians from Guatemala City, attempting to rehabilitate the live strandings and necropsy and run tests on those that pass.

The cause of these strandings remains a mystery and we won’t know too much until samples are analysed. All we know at the moment is that this disease or illness is only affecting one species of turtle- Lepidochelys olivacea and this is coinciding with the time that these turtles are migrating back to their coastal breeding grounds. It seems that this may be a bacterial, viral or parasitic infection which will be difficult to detect without the analysis of samples.

Alice & Sarah (Akazul) assessing the new arrivals

For any of those out there who may be able to help with this investigation, please do get in touch via admin@akazul.org

Kind regards,

The team at Akazul