An exercise program in the works for endangered sea turtles won't have them racing hares but may help them dodge sharks, scientists say.
Scientists at the National Marine Fisheries Service are developing a regimen for the more than 1,000 Kemp's Ridley turtles raised in captivity each year and released into the Gulf of Mexico in an effort to save them from extinction.In captivity, the turtles are too aggressive to be placed together in a tank and have to live in one-gallon plastic milk cartons or other small containers in larger tanks, said Tim Fontaine, manager of the federally funded program to save the turtles.
The turtles get virtually no exercise, Fontaine said. About the most they can do is flap inside their containers. As a result, they may not be as expert as they could be at dodging predators once they are released into the Gulf, Fontaine said.
Scientists fear that the more than 13,500 Ridleys already released into the Gulf have been too vulnerable to their No. 1 enemy - the shark.