By Douglas Main, OurAmazingPlanet

“For the first time, migrating great white sharks have been tagged and  their movements around the oceans tracked for years, as opposed to the  few months they have previously been tracked, according to a researcher.

Scientists used special satellite tags that tracked several sharks from  a specific great white population for up to three years off the coast  of Mexico. The study found that adult female sharks complete a two-year  breeding cycle and avoid male sharks whenever possible, said study  author Michael Domeier, a researcher and the president of the Marine Conservation Science Institute.”

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From Wildlife Promise // Lacey McCormick

“In August 2011, scientists did a comprehensive examination of a 16-year-old male bottlenose dolphin. This dolphin — dubbed Y12 for research purposes — was found near Grand Isle, a Louisiana barrier island that was hit hard during the Gulf oil disaster.

Like many of the 31 other dolphins examined in a recent study, Y12 was found to be severely ill: underweight, anemic and with signs of liver and lung disease. The dolphins’ symptoms were consistent with those seen in other mammals exposed to oil; researchers feared many of the dolphins studied were so ill they would not survive.

Seven months later, Y12’s emaciated carcass washed up on the beach at Grand Isle.

More than 650 dolphins have been found stranded in the oil spill area since the Gulf oil disaster began. This is more than four times the historical average.”

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On September 3, 2001, a juvenile Kemp’s Ridley was found at the Crystal River Power Plant in Citrus County. This little guy, who weighed only 7 lbs, had a wound to both his upper and lower jaw on his right side. Although this was an old wound that was healed over, the rhombus on his top jaw was sliced all the way down to his bone. Otherwise, the turtle was in good body condition overall. The turtle, named “Rob”, was admitted to Clearwater Marine Aquarium on the same day as his stranding. He was weighed, measured, and had a full blood sample before being put in a shallow pool to see how well he could handle himself in the water. In addition to getting him acclimated, the shallow water made it much easier for Staff to “capture” him when he needed to be tube fed. Although he was doing well with his tube feeding, he would not accept any of the solid food that was being offered to him, so his tube feedings continued through October. By the end of October, Staff began to combine tube feedings with force feeding sessions (where he was fed capelin) and things began to turn around when Rob began foraging on his own in mid-November.

Luckily for Rob, he only faced a couple small difficulties over the course of the next few years. He continued to eat on his own, so his diet (and his weight!) both began to increase. When he wasn’t resting on the bottom, he was very alert, and he continued to be pulled only once a year for his annual physical. Rob was moved to his new home, “Turtle Cove” on August 21, 2006, where he continues to reside today. The only medical issues Rob has faced were the result of his jaw injuries. The uneven growth of his mandible caused a few abscesses, and he also had a growth under his lower jaw which was pulled and sutured in the summer of 2008. Rob had two minor surgeries, one on July 16, 2008 and one on July 17, 2008, to remove a large amount of granuloma tissue as well as small amounts of necrotic bone. He was then put on antibiotics, and his eating pattern slowly returned to normal. The only other “problem” Rob has faced was with another resident Kemp’s Ridley, Molly. Rob had to be moved out of the pool they shared and into his own pool because Molly was very aggressive towards him!

Today, Rob weighs over 60 lbs, and he has come a long way from the 7 lb little guy that stranded in 2001. Rob is a very easygoing turtle who loves his squid, and spends most of his time napping. Rob still resides at Turtle Cove (you can find him in the middle pool) and we are proud to call him a resident here at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

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By Ella Davies Reporter, BBC Nature

“Oceanic whitetip sharks return home to protected Bahamas waters, surprising scientists.

Previously thought to be wide-ranging animals, a tagging survey has revealed that the sharks frequently revisit the same areas around the island.

Conservationists have listed the sharks as Vulnerable globally and Critically Endangered in parts of their range.

Experts suggest that the island nation’s marine protected area is assisting the species.

Oceanic whitetips are named for the distinctive white flashes at the end of their fins.

They are opportunistic predators with powerful jaws and as such are considered one of the more dangerous sharks to humans, although the number of unprovoked attacks on people is small.

“Of all the sharks that live in the open ocean they’re the ones that have really declined a lot in the last few decades,” said Dr Demian Chapman of Stony Brook University, New York, US, who led the study.

“They’ve gone from being one of the most abundant large vertebrates on the planet to being considered quite endangered.”

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has listed the sharks as Vulnerable due to over-fishing for their meat and leather, and accidental by-catch.

“Oceanic whitetips frequently take bait meant for other species like tuna and swordfish,” said Dr Chapman, explaining that their fins are prized for shark fin soup.

“Fisherman will take all of these sharks that were incidentally hooked and they will take their fins, and that is fatal to the shark.”

In July 2011, the Bahamian government banned shark fishing in all 240,000 square miles of the country’s waters.

According to the Pew Charitable Trusts which works to establish shark sanctuaries, including the one in the Bahamas, the animals provided $78 million to the country’s economy in tourism annually.

“Tourism is a big part of the Bahamian economy, within that diving and shark diving in particular is very valuable,” said Liz Karan, manager of Global Shark Conservation at Pew.

“I think there’s interest in that particular area just because it’s one of the few places left in the world that have relatively healthy shark populations.”

“So without too much effort you can go and have an experience that’s really unique.”

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