Work to Save Sea Turtles Continues Around World
Saving Sea Turtles: Extraordinary Stories from the Battle
By James R. Spotila
Johns Hopkins University Press, $24.95
BY STEVEN KING
Special to The Pilot
In 2003, Disney released “Finding Nemo,” a forlorn tale which chronicles the haphazard journey of a clownfish named Marlin as he navigates the Great Barrier Reef to locate his missing son, Nemo.
In the opening scenes of that movie, Nemo excitedly asks his dad if he has ever met a shark, with an important follow-up question: “How old are sea turtles?”
Marlin, perhaps a little too annoyed while contemplating his son’s first day of school, replies, “Well, if I ever meet a sea turtle I’ll ask him, right after I’m done talking to the shark.”
Fortunately, this sad tale has a happy ending — Marlin is reunited with his son and informs him that some sea turtles live to be 150 years old.
Such is the mythos of animated cartoons where sea creatures are presented as talkative, happy and engaging.
While sea turtles can live to be quite old, the reality is that their numbers are dwindling every year. In his “Saving Sea Turtles: Extraordinary Stories from the Battle against Extinction,” Dr. James Spotila illustrates the issues that directly threaten these amazing aquatic animals.
Spotila, a tenured biology professor at Drexel University, has penned a moving work which illustrates the tragedy of many varieties of sea turtles. While he does have a penchant for dropping names and places where his graduate students have studied, his book does not read like a lifeless doctoral dissertation.
Quite the contrary, I found his thesis to be stimulating and provocative.
In this collection of stories, the reader learns some amazing truths about the ongoing effort to preserve sea turtles for future generations.
I will never forget a turtle encounter I had while walking along the coastline in North Carolina.
Early one morning, my wife and I were enjoying a leisurely stroll when we were flagged down by a determined beach visitor. He showed us the patterns in the sand that were indicative of a sea turtle coming ashore to place her eggs safely in a nest at the head of the beach.
Together we called the local conservation society, who dispatched a group of volunteers within minutes to cordon off the nest with appropriate notification.
This book will anger you when you read of the lengths to which some will go to destroy nature.
Contact Pinehurst freelance writer Steven King at email@example.com or via his blog at http://booksatthe beach.blogspot.com.
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