Posts

Adventures of a Honu Guardian

Image
  Although my interest in sea turtles was always listed on my resume, I have to admit it leaned more toward a professional hobby. I never applied for a sea turtle grant. I never published a sea turtle paper (although I do have a completed manuscript that I never submitted for publication on human impacts to green turtle behavior in Hawaii). And I did attend 2 meetings of the International Sea Turtle Symposium on Biology and Conservation, once in San Diego, and once in Brisbane, Australia. Posing by one of my posters in Brisbane! Most surprising (to me), I did once try to get myself stranded for a summer on French Frigate Shoals, a speck of sand in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, to tag and measured green sea turtles (that’s another story). I remember the spark that ignited my interest in sea turtles. I was diving with naturalist Bob Kern in Hanauma Bay, Hawaii (a marine reserve), when we spotted a young honu (the Hawaiian name for a green turtle) swimming toward us. We paused, neutr

Little Free Libraries: a wonderful addition to every neighborhood

Image
  I don't remember when I saw my first Little Free Library, but I remember it was a head-turner. "What a great idea!" I thought. That first one was in the DuPont Circle area of Washington DC, and Elan was donating some of his books. I love books. I love reading them, seeing them, and holding them. I've spent a fortune on books, and I've given most of them away. I have favorite books that I buy every time I see one at a thrift store or garage sale, and donate them to friends. Once, I collected a couple dozen copies of Ed Abbey's Desert Solitaire , and gave them to a group of Utah Conservation Corps volunteers, since they would be working in Utah's Red Rock country.  When I retired from Utah State University, I donated hundreds of technical books to the USU Library. Hundreds of popular books went to thrift store Deseret Industries. So, free books at the neighborhood level just seemed to good to be true. You know that saying, "If something sounds too goo

Anthropogenic disturbances to foraging and resting green turtles around Oahu: potential effects and assessment of harassment

Image
Visitors observing basking green turtles, Oahu, Hawaii. Anthropogenic disturbances to foraging and resting green turtles ( Chelonia mydas ) around O`ahu: potential effects and assessment of harassment  Robert H. Schmidt  Abstract: Hawaiian green turtles are listed as a threatened species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The Hawaiian population of green turtles is rather unique in that the nesting site (French Frigate Shoals) is protected, usually uninhabited, and without many terrestrial predators. Juveniles and adults over 35 cm SCL reside in the nearshore habitats surrounding the populated islands, including O`ahu. These animals are the future breeders who have survived the initial high-mortality pelagic stage. I reviewed non-lethal, anthropogenic factors that could compromise their energy intake, predation risk, or risk of being subjected to detrimental human contact. My findings were inconclusive. Green turtle behavior and turtle responses to human activities are too

The Tale of the Maui Mystery Cat

Image
In 2003, a jaguar was suspected of terrorizing residents of the Olinda area, Maui. Photo of a jaguar attacking a cayman in the Pantanal, Brazil, by Frank Schoen. Copyright: https://www.123rf.com/profile_djambi1969 . Used with permission.      In 2003, I was sitting in a Starbucks across from the Honolulu Zoo in Waikiki, reading the Honolulu Advertiser , when I came across an article about the sighting of a large, cat-like creature on Maui. I don't have that initial article, but I did find an archived copy of an article from Hawaii News Now on the topic: Wildlife officials are planning to intensify efforts today to capture a large catlike animal spotted in the lower Olinda area of Upcountry Maui. A search team sent out yesterday found evidence the animal does exist. They discovered tree trunks with deep scratch marks and a number of doves that appeared to be killed by a catlike paw. Wildlife experts plan to bait an existing trap today and add four more traps. Officials say they be