You've got serious thrill issues, dude.
April 19, 2013 2:59 PM   Subscribe

For those that think they chose the wrong subject of the new Finding Nemo movie, there's always the true star of the show: Crush the turtle.

Sea turtles sometimes get overlooked compared to the flashier and splashier oceanic inhabitants, however they are seriously cool and groovy creatures. They also travel huge distances during their migrations; researchers tracked an adult female more than 12,000 miles (19,000 kilometers) using satellite telemetry. Unfortunately, most species of sea turtle are endangered, but there are a few bright spots.

They're also very relaxing to watch.
posted by arcticseal (6 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
i speak whale
posted by shakespeherian at 3:12 PM on April 19, 2013 [9 favorites]

I wish I could speak whale
posted by never used baby shoes at 3:45 PM on April 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

I studied sea turtles around 15-20 years ago. Specifically, I studied Olive Ridley turtles, which are most commonly associated with arribada's in Costa Rica. An arribada is when massive numbers of turtles all come ashore at the same time to lay their eggs. It is an amazing event of nature. The historically predatory, and occasionally more symbiotic, relationship between Olive Ridleys and humans is tragic and inspiring.

The first time I studied sea turtles I was a part of a volunteer group of high school aged kids on a special assignment from the Student Conservation Association. We traveled to Mexico to do various biological studies including helping with some sea turtle hatcheries manned by a very few local biologists. They would go out at night, collect eggs, and bring them back to a safe area for them to be replanted in artificial nests until they hatched. Hueveros, egg stealers, also prowled at night on horseback, armed with shotguns. They would collect eggs to be sold as bocas - bar food.

The Hueveros were faster on horses than we ever were on foot. We'd go out to help with the egg collection and we'd see these guys, gun slung over their backs, riding at a trot down the shore, watching us watch them and not caring that what they were doing was illegal. All we could do is stay out of their way and get to the turtles first.

If the Hueveros got to the turtles before we did, they'd not wait the hour or two for the eggs to be laid. They'd take the turtle back near the brush at the edge of the beach, butcher it to take out the eggs, and burn the turtle corpse. We came upon such slaughter grounds and all you can do is not linger in the hopes of saving a different turtle down the beach.

Years later I did research in Ostional to create artificial turtle hatcheries in the dry season. It actually worked, which was a first, and the whole experience brings back fond memories. I never got around to publishing that work, but a while back I got around to posting the research on the web so that anyone interested could possibly use it. It's still out there if you search for it.

The very uplifting thing about Ostional is that during the dry season, the locals collect eggs to sell to market as a means for making a living. Aside from my hatchery research showing that eggs could be saved through hatcheries, the eggs generally die during the dry season. Consequently, collection in the dry season is not environmentally devastating. In return, the locals protect the eggs during the wet season.

So, there is a balance that can be reached to help save the turtles, but it takes some creativity and understanding of the predicament of both the turtles and the people who live near their beaches. Thankfully, the Olive Ridley population is doing relatively well, no doubt in part to the efforts at Ostional.
posted by Muddler at 3:45 PM on April 19, 2013 [49 favorites]

Crush the Turtle was voiced by Finding Nemo's writer and director himself, Andrew Stanton.
posted by eye of newt at 10:44 AM on April 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Did you know Crush the turtle was almost voiced by Michael Ian Black ?
posted by cottoncandybeard at 1:39 PM on April 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

In all fairness, Dory is an amazing character. I think I'd put her just above Edna as best Pixar character.
posted by bouvin at 5:51 AM on April 22, 2013

« Older Fresh young chicks live on cam   |   A study of the human spirit. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments