June 15, 2011 the Night Hawk met up with the Research Vessel Georgia Bulldog to handoff two sick marine turtles. The R/V Georgia Bulldog is conducting research off the NE Florida/ SE Georgia coasts. Pulling trawl nets, satellite tagging turtles, obtaining genetics samples etc, the marine turtle collected in the trawls are tested and vitals taken. http://www.uga.edu/marex/advisory/RVGeorgiaBulldog.html
If any turtles are sick or injured, the “Bulldog” has to transport them to shore where they can be transferred to a rehabilitation hospital. Today the R/V met up with Night Hawk offshore and transferred 2 turtles at sea, saving valuable time for both the R/V Bulldog and getting our patients en route to the hospital quickly. Both turtles were 60 cm in length, but as pictures illustrate, these are two different species. The Loggerhead,
a threatened species, makes up the majority of marine turtle nesting in Florida. In fact, Florida hosts the second largest nesting population in the world. The Kemp’s Ridley an endangered species, primarily nests in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. Nearly 95% of worldwide Kemp’s Ridleys nest there.
The two marine turtles transferred today are headed to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center for rehabilitation. http://www.georgiaseaturtlecenter.org/our-patients/