Reporting Christie Ileto
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The urgent push to save endangered sea turtles comes to Baltimore.
As Christie Ileto explains, thousands of scientists from around the world are finding ways to stop the worst case scenario–extinction.
The race to save sea turtles is kicking into overdrive.
Inside a Fells Point warehouse, seven sea turtles are being rehabilitated by the National Aquarium. But these jewels are a fraction of what officials call a bigger problem.
“November and December into 2013 we have definitely seen an influx of sea turtle strandings,” said Amber White, National Aquarium.
This season alone, the National Aquarium says more than 250 sea turtles are swimming to shore and getting stranded in shallow waters along the East Coast. Last year, there was only one live stranding on Maryland’s coastline–the others died.
“The things that endanger them are fisheries, habitat degradation, pollution, plastics in the ocean,” said Raymond Carthy, International Sea Turtle Symposium.
And now, more than 1,000 scientists from around the globe are coming to Baltimore to hatch out ways to protect them.
“Maryland has a lot at stake,” said John Seyjaget, National Aquarium.
The National Aquarium is responsible for rescuing sea turtles stranded along Maryland’s coastline–including the Chesapeake Bay–which is considered an important area for many turtle species.
“It’s calmer waters for the animals and during their migration from north to south they do find their way into the Chesapeake Bay,” Seyjaget said.
“We’ve got to take an immediate and global approach to conserve these animals,” Carthy said.
And that means monitoring Maryland’s coastline more to keep the number of sea turtle strandings down.
Officials say in some cases, the worst case scenario is already occurring and they’re seeing declining sea turtle populations along the Pacific Coast.
The International Sea Turtle Symposium will also focus on how communities can do their part to prevent further injury to the reptiles and their habitat.