This week’s Wild Encounters is a great story of conservation and gives you an opportunity to help the majestic sea turtle. Here’s the conversation between Micah Rumsey and Aquarium Curator Jennifer Rawlings.
Micah: Welcome back to Wild Encounters and today we’re going under the sea and I’m here with Jennifer. We’re talking about the sea turtle and we might see the sea turtle swim behind us but we’ll at least have a backdrop of a number of fish behind us. So, tell us a little bit about the sea turtle we have here.
Jennifer: Well, at Riverbanks we have a green sea turtle, so this is one of the two species that we see commonly nesting on our beaches here. It’s the less common of the two species. There’s the loggerhead sea turtle. This particular green sea turtle has been with us for almost three years and we’re getting ready to tag and release this turtle so that it can go back into the wild population and contribute to sea turtle conservation.
Micah: So a great conservation effort but also, if you want to come see the sea turtle here, you better get here pretty quickly because it’s going back into the wild. So tell us a little bit about that conservation program.
Jennifer: As you might know, sea turtles are endangered and threatened to they have conservation value in our oceans and we love to have them here at Riverbanks as ambassadors so that our guests can see them and see how beautiful they are. We have a partnership with DNR. They allow us to have them here for educational display and then they’re the ones who will actually do the tagging and releasing so that they can monitor the turtles when they’re back in the wild.
Micah: A part of that program is something you can help out with at home because Riverbanks Zoo in partnering to help recycle, to reduce plastics. There’s a 30 day plastics challenge that you can be a part of. You go to their Facebook page at Facebook.com/RiverbanksZoo and learn more about reducing those plastics. So why is it important to keep the plastics out of the way of the turtles?
Jennifer: Turtles specifically, a lot of them like to eat jellies and jellies can look like plastic when they’re in the wild and they can mistakenly eat plastic and it makes it hard for them to actually digest their food properly and they can get sick when they have too much plastic in their stomachs. It’s best to reduce and reuse your plastic if you can.
Micah: And so that’s where you at home come into the picture on helping reducing those plastics, so go check out that challenge and make sure you come down here to Riverbanks Zoo soon so you can see the green sea turtle before it gets released back into the wild. We’ll see you next time.