WE NEED TO STOP!

More and more people are becoming more careless about the effects their actions have on the environment. Every day, marine animals are getting caught, tangled and suffocated because of the litter that we are throwing into the ocean.

According to a report, “at least eight tons of plastic leaks into the ocean” annually. They say that this is the same as the contents of one garbage truck being dumped into the ocean.

By 2050, if nothing is changed, that number is expected to increase by four times per minute and all of the plastic in the ocean is expected to weigh more than all of the fish.

While law makers and conservation companies are contracting plans to be put in place, we can do a few simple things:

  1. Don’t litter
  2. Recycle
  3. Pick up trash left in ocean and beaches even if it’s not yours
  4. Be a safe watercraft operator
  5. Watch out for fins and turtle backs on the surface of the ocean

 

It doesn’t take much for us to help a large amount of marine wildlife.

 

picture source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/plastic-trash-animals-photos_us_58ee9ec1e4b0b9e984891ddf

 

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An elephant or a seal?

Why not both!

For many Discovery Channel viewers, last night was the start of Shark Week 2017. As I was watching, a shark attacked an elephant seal, which is an animal that I’ve never heard of before.

Intrigued, I looked up additional information about them.

Welcome to my first animal spotlight: the elephant seal.

These seals can live up to nine years, with their weight reaching 4.5 tons and their height reaching up to 20 feet.

Elephant seals are nothing like actual elephants. However, they got their name because of their large trunk-like snout that resembles an elephant’s trunk.

Northern elephant seals typically habituate offshore islands where the water is warmer. Southern elephant seals are found more in the Antarctic Ocean, where the water is cooler and fish are abundant.

Elephant seals were once on the verge of extinction: People would use their blubber for lamp oil. Today, the number of elephant seals has soared, reaching over 150,000 seals.

 

Not every animal has this type of success story, but any animal can bounce back from extinction with our help.

 

picture source: https://www.britannica.com/animal/northern-elephant-seal

 

Shark encounters, oh my!

About five years ago, off the coast of Key Largo, Florida, I encountered my very first shark. As I was snorkeling, the 7-foot reef shark swam right in front of me. I paused and held my breath for what felt like eternity; I had no idea what to do.

Luckily, the shark had no interest in me and moved along. I calmly (I was freaking out on the inside) swam back to the boat and informed others about what happened.

This can happen to anyone; it happened to me. What if it happens to you?

This is what you should do when you encounter a shark:

Don’t panic.  Really don’t.

Calmly swim back to the shore. But keep an eye out on the shark; You never know what it will do next.

Shark repellent is not 100%.

Don’t try to play/mess with the shark.

 

Every year on average, there are around 60 shark attacks and 10 shark-attack fatalities. Knowing what to do when you encounter a shark can greatly reduce these numbers and can save your life.

The ocean is their world, and you’re just swimming in it.

What about the turtles?

The Florida Keys is home to a vast variety of marine animals, such as manatee, dolphins, sharks and turtles. These precious creatures are constantly being affected by the negative effects that WE are causing.

The Turtle Hospital in Marathon, Florida is a major advocate for helping animals out of these harmful situations, specifically sea turtles.

The Hospital was created for the rehabilitation of endangered sea turtles, including turtles caught in fishing nets, lines, and waste found in the ocean. They also treat turtles that have tumors, boat scars, and intestinal blockage.

The facility contains donated medical equipment that is designed to meet the needs of turtles of various species and sizes. For educational purposes, specific employees give daily tours to the public. The tour includes a showing of the actual hospital and equipment, as well as several mini pools and one big pool for the turtles to recover in before being released.

The Turtle Hospital is a non-profit organization and they need OUR help in saving the turtles.

The Hospital website lists specific actions that you can take to help:

  • Contribute- donate, become a member, or adopt a turtle.
  • Make responsible decisions- know where your seafood is coming from.
  • Recycle- DO NOT throw trash in the oceans, keep it in a place where you will remember to take it either to the trash or recycling bin.
  • Boat safely- avoid seagrass, look out for trash and harmful objects, stay clear of visual wildlife.

 

By working together, we can greatly enhance the quality of life of turtles and other wildlife. Endangered species could be a thing of the past.

 

Rescue. Rehabilitation. Release. That’s all it takes.