6.29.2011

TURTLES VERSUS AIRLINES


Turtles win! The best news I've heard all day: JFK airport traffic backed up while turtles take their time crossing runways to get to the other side--and lay eggs in the sand, of course. What else but motherhood would make a turtle ferocious enough to brave the hazards of large-winged, fire-breathing monsters? About 150 moms took to the runways this morning. (Not my picture, by the way, got it off a website for a sea turtle center.)

And speaking of determined moms, ready to confront all enemies: Be like the turtle moms, doing what it takes for their babies. Please Join Moms Clean Air Force

12 comments:

Warren said...

Great! I remember stopping the car once to help a turtle cross. Great beauty shot BTW. You really caught her best side. THink I registered there when I was your lone commenter... ;(

karenleslie said...

she's a beauty...

Violet Cadburry said...

I have finally gotten around to joining, just kinda slow, like a turtle.

SweetRetreat said...

The power of those female turtles. Ambling, a lost activity.

What a face.

david terry said...

Dear Ms. Browning & readers,

Do take the time to read the "comments" section from the NYTimes link. I was particularly amused by some prissy-poster (afflicted with affected-"Sensitivity") who archly complained that the airport authorities aren't doing anything to assist all the geese that happen to be on runways.

Some practical-poster has replied...emphasizing the obvious (one might assume) fact that turtles don't fly.

Not entirely by the way?...I used to drive around the Delta with a friend of mine (he was deeply-FROM there) who always carried a sawed-off broomstick in the back of the truck.

that way?....when we came across some bigass alligator-snapping-turtle (I'd ask how you punctuate that, but my good guess is that you simply don't, since you never have to see or spell the thing)
that was stupidly crossing the road?...

Well, he'd stop the truck and tease it with the broomstick. the turtle would clamp down, and he'd drag it to the other side of the road. I should emphasize that these things grow to about 200 pounds and almost a yard-long.

As a very general rule, you don't try to pick them up with your hands unless you have 12 fingers and can afford to lose a couple.

I love turtles.

As an elderly, fairly sardonic friend of mine once said when she learned that her daughter had spent her inheritance on a "clam farm" off Cape Cod?....:

"well, at least they're QUIET."


Level Best as Ever,

david Terry
www.davidterryart.com

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I felt the same way when I read this today.
I cheered!

VL said...

I'm glad David's comment prompted me to read the comments, because the story is actually a little more complicated, as those of you outside of New York have no reason to know. As I just posted on the NYTimes site (but who knows when it will appear):

Commenter #3, Ellie, didn't say "why aren't we rustling geese out of the way". She wrote that "geese are a whole different story." As in: http://nymag.com/guides/summer/2011/lee-humberg/

Basically, as you can read for yourselves in the NYMag link, officials are _actively killing_ geese (both the adults and by addling the eggs) to reduce the risk of their flying into aircraft engines. In other words, officials are saving turtles but killing geese -- so that means, yes, "geese are a whole different story."

I'd like to think there might be something more productive and less wasteful we could be doing with the geese or their eggs -- why cull them when some people might be happy to hunt an exploding population, or maybe there are natural predators for the eggs, etc. Maybe they could be encouraged to nest elsewhere? Usually when humans intervene it's because our interference has already disrupted the ecosystem in some way so as to create a population imbalance. The whole issue is complex, and requires a lot more thought than people are wont to give.

c said...

I am pleased beyond words ... humans actually behaving humanely!

Dominique said...

You know, VL, you are so right about doing something less wasteful about animals whose populations are out of control, like geese, and deer--because their natural predators are gone, or their populations decimated.

We freak out when we see coyote, wolf, or large cat--and trade horror stories about small dogs becoming snack food--yet those animals help keep things in balance.

I once tried to get NY State (through contacts with the then governor) to allow distribution of venison for food, particularly in places where there is a critical hunger problem--as the deer problem is out of control along the northeast. That went nowhere fast.

We have disrupted ecosystems. The turtles are severely stressed up and down the east coast due to beachfront development. People come with dogs and cats, skunks and raccoons thrive, and they disturb the nests, or eat the eggs.

I'm so glad the airlines don't just run the turtles over. Let's celebrate the small victories.

VL said...

I agree about celebrating small victories.

I wonder if the new websites that facilitate creating petitions might be helpful in these cases now? I assume that when you tried to move the governor's office there was no equivalent of change.org or care2causes... In any case it was a good idea, and one that should be revisited.

Hopefully there will be larger victories to celebrate, too.

Warren said...

Well we go to restaurants and farmer's markets to pay top dollar for free-range and organic. You can't get much more organic that deer and (gawd I hate them) snapping turtles. Both are very good to eat. If we had a more balanced view about killing what we eat we would not have the unbalances we do. My French cousin-in-law raised rabbits and calves with names like Cassoulet and Hamburger. Her kids knew. THere is nothing wrong with eating what you know.

As for snapping turtles, I would sometimes have to wade into muddy irrigation ponds to recover a bass lure (the only one that ever worked) and I lived in fear of snapping turtles. And yes, even when we shot one dead with a .22, their jaws would still go for the broom handle. But dipped in flour and browned and simmered, you did not feel at all bad about eating them. And the shells are oh so decorative. So my advice is to help balance out the system or allow those who are willing to permission to hunt.

As for why we don't distribute game, it is because the market hunters nearly eliminated all the wild ducks.... THank TR for creating the Wildlife Service at the begging of the Audubon Society.

Claudia Juestel said...

Turtles rock! Your are right Dominique, there is much to learn from this determined and brave moms.

Cheers,

Clauia