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Nov 27, 2018

Thanks to You, Another Year of Sea Turtle Conservation Complete!

A sea turtle is carefully tagged
A sea turtle is carefully tagged

Last month, Earthwatch’s Tracking Sea Turtles in the Bahamas expedition completed research activities in its 5th season, which ran from February – September. During this time, nearly 50 volunteers worked alongside Lead Scientist Annabelle Brooks and her staff to collect important data on the health and behaviors of juvenile sea turtles in the Bahamas. These observations are helping scientists and wildlife managers better understand how sea turtles choose their feeding sites in order to protect them during this critical life stage.

With the continued support of generous donors like you, Dr. Brooks was able to expand her research this year to neighboring Abaco and Andros islands. In 2019, Earthwatch volunteers will also collect data on previously unstudied Exuma.

Do the turtles travel the hundred miles or so between islands? Will the turtles at each location exhibit the same foraging behaviors? What new insights might this expanded data set reveal? We hope to answer these questions and more following careful analysis over the next few months.

In the meantime, thank you for all you do to help multi-year conservation studies like this one. Together, we are making a real difference in the fight to sustain our planet, one species, one donation, and one day at a time.

Best wishes for a joyous holiday season,

Heather Wilcox
Director of Annual Giving & Advancement Services
hwilcox@earthwatch.org
978-450-1208

P.S. Remember, you don't just have to read about this research from afar... you can be at the center of the action as an Earthwatch research volunteer! Please follow the link below to see which teams are accepting volunteers for 2019.

**All photos provided courtesy of Annabelle Brooks **

Earthwatchers get ready to track turtles
Earthwatchers get ready to track turtles
A volunteer prepares to dive in after a turtle
A volunteer prepares to dive in after a turtle
The chase is on!
The chase is on!
Success!
Success!
Teen volunteers record seagrass bed data
Teen volunteers record seagrass bed data
A captured turtle is gently released
A captured turtle is gently released

Links:

Nov 26, 2018

Thanks to You, Another Milestone Reached in Majete!

A volunteer checks on a camera trap
A volunteer checks on a camera trap

Earthwatch’s Animals of Malawi in the Majete Wildlife Reserve expedition is nearing completion of its 6th season, which runs from June – December each year. During this time, Earthwatch volunteers work alongside Dr. Alison Leslie and her staff to collect important observational data that are used to inform wildlife management strategies throughout the park. This extensive monitoring has helped the reserve to safely grow from just 2,900 animals in 2003 to over 12,000 thriving animals today!

With the continued support of generous donors like you, we are thrilled to announce that the Majete Wildlife Reserve recently welcomed a new species! On November 19, 13 giraffe were carefully and successfully relocated from South Africa to Malawi, bringing giraffes to Majete for the first time. This translocation couldn’t be more timely, as the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species has just been updated and now recognizes several giraffe subspecies as Critically Endangered.

A few weeks earlier, Majete also welcomed a pangolin – a scaly anteater the size of a cat – that was brought to their attention by a group of young boys who found it while herding cattle in their neighboring community. Pangolins are one of the most illegally trafficked species in the world, poached for their scales which are mistakenly believed to hold medicinal properties. This is the second time a pangolin has been brought to Majete, highlighting the positive impact of the environmental education work and relationship building done by the staff of Majete throughout the surrounding village communities.

Thank you for all you do to help secure conservation victories like these. Together, we are making a real difference in the fight to sustain our planet, one species, one donation, and one day at a time.

Wishing you and yours a joyous holiday season,

Heather Wilcox
Director of Annual Giving
978-450-1208
hwilcox@earthwatch.org

P.S. Remember, you don't just have to read about this research from afar... you can be at the center of the action as an Earthwatch research volunteer! Please follow the link below to see which teams are accepting volunteers for 2019.

Observing elephants from a watering hole blind
Observing elephants from a watering hole blind
A family of warthogs drinks from a watering hole
A family of warthogs drinks from a watering hole
Black rhinos drink from a watering hole
Black rhinos drink from a watering hole
A kudu forages on leaves
A kudu forages on leaves
Observing elephants from the research vehicle
Observing elephants from the research vehicle
A baboon also observes the watering hole :)
A baboon also observes the watering hole :)
Data collected by volunteers at the watering hole
Data collected by volunteers at the watering hole

Links:

Jun 29, 2018

A Message of Thanks from Annabelle Brooks

Sea turtles are released after measuring
Sea turtles are released after measuring

Thank you for supporting Earthwatch’s Tracking Sea Turtles in the Bahamas research expedition. Earthwatch Lead Scientist Annabelle Brooks has completed her analysis of the data collected during the 2017 season, the fourth year of this ongoing study. Below, Annabelle shares highlights from the season and expresses her gratitude for your generosity that keeps this exciting project going.

Thank you so much for helping us accomplish so much in 2017, our fourth year of the Earthwatch funded research program. Your contributions were vital in collecting a vast amount of data and also allowed us to see some incredible things in the field. Our turtle database has grown vastly and we continue to get fantastic recapture information. Fieldwork was a very exciting and rewarding time—a highlight being the predation of a green sea turtle by a juvenile tiger shark right before our very eyes! Two Master of Science students from the UK were able to collect a huge amount of data and complete their thesis projects that address habitat and food availability and homing behavior, as well as establish a new study that looks at sea turtle diet. We were also able to conduct an island-wide educational campaign.

The Cape Eleuthera Institute hosted their very first Sea Turtle Summer Camp for Bahamian students. This opportunity welcomed children between ages 14-17 to spend four days on our campus to participate in sea turtle research and other conservation projects. The existence of this project made it possible for school children from Eleuthera and Nassau to see sea turtles up close and learn more about their ecology and the importance of their conservation. Students were given an in-depth introduction to sea turtles, providing information on general biology, life history, threats, and conservation. The camp leaders also described the importance of the research we are conducting on resident juvenile green sea turtles, which inhabit the shallow Bahamian waters to forage on seagrass.

For a second year, the staff of the Cape Eleuthera Island School also ventured into the field and experienced a day in the life of an Earthwatch volunteer! These individuals are now part of the wider community – like yourselves – who advocate for sea turtle conservation and the habitats they exist in.

I thank you again for supporting this important work.

Annabelle Brooks
Earthwatch Lead Scientist


Want to learn more? Follow the link below to read the full results and conclusions of the 2017 research season. And remember - you don't just have to read about this research from afar... you can be at the center of the action as an Earthwatch research volunteer! Visit the expedition sign up page to see which teams are still accepting volunteers in 2018.

Thank you again for your generosity and commitment to conserving threatened sea turtles!

With gratitude,

Heather Wilcox
Director of Annual Giving & Advancement Services
hwilcox@earthwatch.org
978-450-1208

A captured sea turtle is examined and measured
A captured sea turtle is examined and measured
A volunteer records habitat data in the mangroves
A volunteer records habitat data in the mangroves
A tracking device is affixed to a turtle
A tracking device is affixed to a turtle's shell
Teen volunteers on the lookout for turtles
Teen volunteers on the lookout for turtles
Lead Scientist Annabelle Brooks w/ a green turtle
Lead Scientist Annabelle Brooks w/ a green turtle

Links:

 
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