Turtle Distinction Essay Research Paper For many

Turtle Distinction Essay, Research Paper For many reasons the human race could be called a blessing. Great advanced in technology, medicine and even the fact we are the most sophisticated

Turtle Distinction Essay, Research Paper

For many reasons the human race could be called a blessing. Great

advanced in technology, medicine and even the fact we are the most sophisticated

species on the planet. Are we a gift to planet Earth, or far from it? With cast

amounts of pollution and destruction of the planet, not to mention unthinkable

acts of violence and hate that has been going on since the beginning of time.

Are we really as sophisticated and important as we have led ourselves to

believe? Are we any better than any other creature because we are more

technologically advanced? Is the human race a blessing? Humans have destroyed

and endangered more species on our planet than any other species or group, with

our continuous pollution and lack of respect for out own environment. One area

of the world affected by our careless habits is our coastlines and the marine

habitats that vast amounts of species rely on. These particular areas of the

world are being destroyed because humans don?t seem to care as long as they

make a couple of dollars in the process. Oil spills like the one in the Prince

William Sound on the coast of Alaska and Hawaiian sea turtles and their many

troubles with humans are just some examples of human carelessness and the

consequences that the environment, particularly marine wildlife incur, which

often are fatal. I chose this particular subject because I find the ocean and

it?s unique and rare inhabitants to be interesting. Every coastline has its

one unique species and no two areas are the same. I wanted to learn more about

how humans are destroying the habitats of these unique creatures. I found that

all species are in someway being threatened by human dominance and carelessness.

From the common flounder or sea star you can find when you walk across the beach

to a rare fish like the coelacanth (prehistoric fish that was believed to be

extinct until one was caught off the coat of Madagascar by a local commercial

fisherman until in the 1950?s). The ocean can be a calm and loving but can

easily turn into a vicious killer within seconds. All of these things are what I

find so interesting about the ocean. I wanted to find out why people can

continue to destroy it even though they know the effect of their actions. I

guess some people are ignorant and just don?t care if they destroy the things

that make our environment so beautiful. One example of our careless destruction

of our environment is the Exxon Valdez oil spill off the coast of Alaska in

1989. The Prince William Sound still shows signs of the oil spill tem years

later. Most species have recovered since the spill, but many are still

suffering. The Harbor Seal and herring are just two who are vital to the

survival of all the species in the area. Herring are the main source of food for

many species in the area, including humans. (Mitchell, p.98) ?The ecosystem is

gradually recovering from the spill,? says Molly McCammon, an Executive

director of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council, ?but it will never be

the same as it was twenty years ago.? The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee

Council was founded to oversee the use of nine hundred million dollars to the

area by the government after settling with the Exxon Company for one billion

dollars in criminal and civil damages. One serious problem in the aftermath of

Exxon Valdez is the decline of herring. (The table shows the chave in

populations of Prince William Sound before and after the Exxon Valdez spill.)

Even more disturbing than the fact herring aren?t recovering as well as other

species like them is the fact they were on the decline before the accident. This

was a major issue because herring are the center of the ecosystem in the Sound.

Many biologists now believe that over fishing of the herring has contributed to

their decline. The Pacific Herring is just one species of the area, but if you

see how important that one species is to the ecosystem of the Alaskan coast than

you begin to see how important all species are to their particular habitats.

This is just one example, but if you take a species out of its environment, then

a chain reaction would occur, hurting the species around it. Another species

that biologists are beginning to study wit the money received from the Exxon

Valdez settlement is the Alaskan Salmon. The oil spill has left the Alaskan

Salmon on the decline until recently, but still the species is reeling. ?The

last two years have been extremely positive for the Alaskan Salmon

population,? stated one Alaskan biologists. But her concerns were more focused

on the salmon offspring, which had been effected by the spill. Fry, as seen in

the left vial, were damaged by the oil. The fry still come in contact with oil

when oil pockets seep into some intertidal spawning streams. ?These pockets

are like mines,? says Jeffrey Short, a scientist with the National Marine

Fisheries Service. Scientist discovered the oil caused genetic defects in

salmon. Many species in the Prince William Sound are still recovering from the

spill. This is just one spill and you can see the devastation it has made upon

its ecosystem. This has been called one of the worst oil spills in history. But

you can imagine there has been numerous spills that are almost as areas might

never fully recover from the spill on their ecosystem. The devastation of an oil

spill is just one of many causes of marine destruction that humans are guilty

of. Many other species suffer from damaged habitats. Another example of humans

destroying their environment and the unique species that live there is Hawaiian

Sea turtles. The turtles are becoming endangered because of loss of habitat. The

overwhelming presence of humans in the turtle?s habitat is making is harder

for turtles to find areas where they can lay their eggs. The loss of nesting

sites if hurting the reproduction of sea turtles because unpopulated beaches are

becoming harder to find. Sea turtles have an affinity for certain beaches and

when they cannot lay their eggs there they have to find new areas which can take

time. Other reasons why the turtles are being threatened are pollution of the

ocean and netting. Pollution in the form of debris is killing turtles. They can

ingest the plastic debris and it makes it hard to get the nourishment needed

from the food they eat. Netting is another killer of turtles. Fishing nets set

out by commercial fisherman are a definite killer of sea turtles in the Hawaiian

Islands. (http://www.turtles.org/marines). Erosion of beaches also hurts the sea

turtle population. The lack of beach force turtles to lay their eggs in a

smaller area. When humans try to stop or reduce erosion it disturbs the turtles

even more. Sea walls, canals, jetties, and sandbagging are all things that are

used by humans to stop erosion, but they are hurting the turtles more than they

are helping them. They need dry land in order to lay their eggs and these

structures are deducing land even further. Fibropapilloma Tumors are a serious

threat and are beginning to show up on turtles in Hawaii and other areas with

large numbers of sea turtles. They were first seen in turtles around 1930, but

it wasn?t until 1980 that the tumors began to show up in epidemic proportions.

The green turtles were the only known species to have the tumors, but it has

recently been discovered in other turtle species. The most effected areas of the

world are Hawaii, Florida, and Australia. (http://www.turtles.org/threats.htm)

All of these threats to turtle population are hurting their hopes of survival.

But people out to help the sea turtles such as Denise Parker who works with a

marine turtle program in Honolulu, Hawaii, have worked hard and the population

of marine sea turtles has actually been on the rise in recent years. The

turtle?s population is coming up from endangered and threatened to a safe

number, but that isn?t far enough for many who care about the turtles. They

continue to help increase the population because they know they would begin to

decline again if they didn?t have any help. Many groups such as the Marine

Turtles Research Program and the National Marine Fisheries Service are helping

to restore the turtles in Hawaii. There are also many individuals whose work

with the sea turtles have helped in preserving them and their natural

environment. One of these people is Ken Nichols. Nichols is a supporter of

turtles and he is trying to make the people aware of the environment in the

Hawaiian Islands. He feels that the most important thing we can do is conserve

the wilderness and beaches from expansion. We need to educate people about the

turtles especially children. When asked about how we can save the environment

and the habitat of turtles as well as other species Nichols said, ?This is

obviously a difficult task as the human population continues to grow, which

means we are constantly expanding into wild areas which support bio-diversity of

all types. I believe the greatest task is education of children and more

efficient use of the existing areas we are using.? These two ideas, are good

examples of how the human race destroys the environment around them. We continue

to hurt our wildlife, but there are people out there to fight against the

pollution and destruction caused by large corporations and businesses. The

Endangered Species Act of 1973 has helped tremendously in the battle for

survival of species like the turtles in Hawaii as well as other threatened and

endangered species of out planet. (http://www.fws.gov/r9end.com). This act

prohibits the further destruction or death of the species. By the Endangered

Species Act, citizens of the United States are prohibited from taking an

endangered or threatened species, declared by the U.S. Fish and Wilidlife

Service, from its environment whether on United States? soil or in its waters.

Punishment if caught breaking the lwas instead in this act are as follows;

25,000 dollars if caught violating the rules listed above, 12,000 forknowingly

participating in the importing or exporting of such species. Any person who

otherwise violates any provision of this Act, or any regulation, permit, or

certificate issued hereunder, may be assessed a civil penalty by the Secretary

of not more than $500 for each such violation. (http://endangered.fws.gov/esa.html)

Although this act is a great step towards the restoration of threatened and

endangered species many feel the act isn?t worth the money. A proposed

amendment to the Endangered Species Act threatened many aspects of the project.

The proposed ?amendment? was an attempt to undermine the project of funding

and political support. The amendment to section 403 of the Endangered Species

Act would literally wipe out many of the endangered species protected by this

bill. ?The sea turtles of Hawaii wouldn?t stand a chance if the amendment

would have passed,? said supporters of the Endangered Species Act and

endangered species around the world, ?We can?t just let them take back what

we have worked so hard for.? Shrimp nets alone kill 55,000 turtles a year in

the Hawaiian Islands. (http://www.turtles.org/threats). If the Endangered

Species Act is undermined where will these endangered species turn? Some

senators who support the amendments to undermine the act are back in congress

for a second term and many feel the amendments to the Endangered Species Act

will be brought up again and re-voted. (http://www,turtles.org/threats). Senator

Slade Gorton was one supporter of the bill to undermine the Endangered Species

Act. Are these accusations of inhumanity and lack of care for nature completely

true about Senator Gorton? On Senator Gorton?s web site (http://senate.gov/~gorton),

he shows his compassion for nature. A letter thanking him for his help on saving

trees and several streams in his home state of Washington from the Sierra club

was one such article bringing up questions of whether he was so bad. Others seem

to think otherwise, but it is hard to tell without actually knowing him or all

his work. Many other laws and acts have been implemented to stop the decline in

population of many endangered and threatened species. One it the Marine Mammal

Act, which protects the many species in our oceans. The Clean Water and Clean

Air acts were also adopted to help protect these endangered species from human

threats. One example of how humans have hurt many different species of animals

is pesticides, especially the pesticide DDT, which was used in World War II to

keep insects away from soldiers. After the war, the pesticide was brought back

to the United States and used very carelessly. DDT seeped into the streams and

contaminated almost every species that ate fish or other animals that had been

infected with DDT. From the contaminated fish the pesticide went up the food

chain and began killing off the bald eagles. After the substance DDT was

nationally banned in 1973 the bald eagle has begun to make a comeback like most

of the other species affected by our carelessness. (Discovery, ?The Bald

Eagle?). Just because the Bald Eagle is the symbol of our country does that

mean we have more of an obligation to protect it than the sea turtles? Hopefully

we will be able to stop the amendments one more time, but if they are made what

will happen to the animals that depend on it? We have the obligations to protect

these animals. We have placed them in this situation and it is our fault many of

these species are endangered today. We cannot continue to let them slip away if

we can do something about it. Many organizations are trying to keep these laws

in place. Others who feel that our money should go to more worthy causes, even

though we personally are responsible for the decline in many species. I think we

need to support the laws that are in effect as of right now and try to get

better funding for the organizations that are already in place. We don?t need

new laws, we need to support and help fund the ones we already have. The U.S.

Fish and Wildlife Service is one of the big organizations that helps protect the

endangered species as well as helping to educate and fund other small

organizations that can do their part as well. It may not be easy to get funding

for programs like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but we can achieve this

goal if we work hard. A good example of how we can help to preserve our

endangered wildlife is we can implement a tax that will provide money to these

programs. We can add a tax to companies who contribute to the destruction of our

environment. For example, if a company produces pollution they should be forced

to pay a tax. We can place a standard tax for all companies and corporations who

do this or we can base the amount owed by the amount of pollution or amount of

destruction caused by the corporation on the environment. For companies that we

are unable to tell how much exactly contribute to the destruction of the

environment, we can require a base sum. A starting base sum could be five

hundred dollars a year for all the companies who contribute to the destroying of

the Earth. We can assemble a committee of U.S. Fish and Wildlife agents to

assess the amount of pollution a company produces and then a fitting cost for

that pollution. It might take a little while to put this proposal into effect.

If we anticipated the slow advancement of passing the law in congress it would

take six or seven years to implement this law. It wouldn?t take a lot of

money, but definitely some money would be required. It would take several

thousand to advertise if it wasn?t donated by a company who felt strongly

about the issue at hand. I would think an estimate of about $500,00-60,000

dollars would easily cover the expenses of advertising, salaries for workers and

any other expenses. Donations and fundraisers would be used to accumulate enough

money to get the support of the people. When I discussed my proposal with my

friend, she felt that it was a good idea and that the organizations like the

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service need the money to study and set up programs to

save endangered species and these programs need money. She felt it would be hard

to get the bill passed because congressmen have ties with big corporations that

pollute and they wouldn?t have to pay fees. So most likely the proposal would

be stopped. Although she didn?t see the bill being passed she said that if we

accumulate enough money to advertise and get the support of the people,

congressmen would be forced to vote for the bill or they might not be reelected.

If she has strong feelings about this subject, I?m sure the majority of this

society is concerned about the environment and about our future. We need to try

and get funds for programs and organizations that help endangered and threatened

species. Many organizations rely on donations and money from supporters. We need

to find ways to get more money for these programs and the proposal of taxes on

companies who pollute is just one possibility. Everyone contributes to the

destruction of the environment and we all have to do our part to help the

species we are killing off. Species like the Pacific Salmon, who were threatened

by the Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989. As well as other species like the sea

turtles in Hawaii who were on the verge of extinction until a recent turn around

because of help from organizations and individuals. Individuals who take the

burden upon their shoulders and make it their business to make up for all the

people who could care less what happens to their environment. We need to protect

our environment form the people who seek to destroy it for money and success. I

think the beauty of the ocean is worth saving. Every creature and every unique

species is a creature worth saving. We don?t have the right to kill those who

aren?t as smart or sophisticated as us. They have just as mush right to the

Earth as we do. We don?t have the right to over fish herring in Alaska or cut

down all the trees in rain forests just for money and the profit these resources






Interview with Ken Nichols, a known marine sea turtle activists and protector of

environment of the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii.

3. www.endangered.fws.gov/esa.htm#Lnk11