Shark Charities See Surge in Donations 'Because Trump'
President Trump might have an affinity for elephants, but not so much for another threatened and iconic species: sharks. As adult film actress/Trump's alleged ex-mistress Stormy Daniels claimed in a recent interview with In Touch Weekly, the Donald is "terrified" of the big predators, never donates to shark charities and hopes that "all the sharks die."
But in the few days since the bizarre anti-shark opinions came to light, shark conservation charities have seen a surge in donations specifically mentioning Trump.
Another donor said, "Contribution to save the Sharks after reading the article 'Trump hopes sharks die,'" according to Zorianna Kit, media director for Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
Sorry folks, I'm just not a fan of sharks - and don't worry, they will be around long after we are gone.— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1372947991.0
Sharks are last on my list - other than perhaps the losers and haters of the World!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1372948130.0
But sharks are some of the ocean's most misunderstood creatures. The apex predators maintain the species below them in the food chain and serve as an indicator for ocean health. Oceana explained, "as predators, they shift their prey's spatial habitat, which alters the feeding strategy and diets of other species. Through the spatial controls and abundance, sharks indirectly maintain the seagrass and corals reef habitats. The loss of sharks has led to the decline in coral reefs, seagrass beds and the loss of commercial fisheries."
Unfortunately, 25 percent of shark species are listed as endangered, threatened or near threatened by extinction due to threats that include bycatch and the brutal practice of shark finning. Some 75 million sharks a year are killed, as Captain Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society founder, told MarketWatch.
Let's not forget that since taking over the White House, Trump and his administration's policies could bring much harm to our oceans and its creatures. From the administration's proposal to massively expand new offshore oil drilling off U.S. coastlines, to possibly changing the boundaries of two marine monuments in the Pacific Ocean: Pacific Remote Islands and Rose Atoll.
Conservationists said Trump's comments about sharks were "ignorant," but Watson said, "Anything that focuses attention on the plight of sharks worldwide is valuable, so I guess in that way the president did good service."
Hundreds of endangered sea turtles were stranded on beaches after suffering "cold stunning" in the waters off Cape Cod, Mass. Local rescuers and wildlife rehabilitators stabilized the turtles at the New England Aquarium (NEAQ) and National Marine Life Center and began treatment. Many of the sea turtles were transported by land or air to partner facilities around the Eastern Seaboard for longer-term care to make room for more incoming, cold-stunned animals.
Rehabilitators at The Turtle Hospital in the Florida Keys assess critically endangered, cold-stunned Kemp's ridley sea turtles flown in after rescue in New England. The Turtle Hospital<p>NEAQ and local rescuers begin seeing turtles every fall when water temperatures drop to that 50 degrees F threshold, and typically expect to find them into early January. After that, <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/sea-turtle-cape-cod-weather-2621527394.html" target="_self">temperatures are so cold that any animals found are usually no longer alive</a>.</p><p>Merigo estimated that this year's cold season "looks very busy" and noted that local rescue efforts had already surpassed 400 turtles.</p><p>"It is a lot of animals. They're still coming in," she told EcoWatch as she surveyed 39 rescued turtles that day and 20 the day prior. "So far, this is a huge year."</p><p>At NEAQ, the turtles are gradually warmed up about five to 10 degrees F a day. More aggressive warming can cause serious damage and the turtle might not survive, Merigo said. Emergency treatments also include providing replacement fluids, balancing electrolytes and addressing pneumonia. Assessments take place for other serious problems too, such as shell or limb fractures, frostbite, emaciation and eye damage.<span></span></p><p>As local aquariums don't have the capacity to care for all the injured turtles, a group of private pilots called <a href="https://www.turtlesflytoo.org/" target="_blank">"Turtles Fly Too"</a> donated planes, fuel and time to transport some to various partner facilities around the country. Other turtles were driven to closer care facilities.</p><p>"We have a huge network of really great partners working with us, so if we can spread out the care, we can give better care to all the animals," Merigo said.</p><p>The 40 Kemp's ridley sea turtles recovering in The Turtle Hospital will continue to be treated and rehabilitated anywhere from 30 days to a year, depending on the severity of injuries, Zirkelbach said.</p><p>The turtle expert noted that while she's treated cold-stunned turtles from the north before, the newest arrivals were the most cold-stunned Kemp's ridleys ever received at one time.</p>
After rescue, cold-stunned sea turtles received immediate emergency care and assessments at the New England Aquarium. Caitlin Cunningham / New England Aquarium<p>In the past decade, the Gulf of Maine, which spans from Cape Cod to Nova Scotia, has warmed 99 percent faster than the rest of the ocean, Zirkelbach said. The warm water encourages turtles that migrate north along the Gulf Stream in warmer months to stay in the bay longer.</p><p>"Turtles that fail to migrate south get stuck in the unique horseshoe-shaped topography of the Cape Cod peninsula, and when temperatures drop, the bay becomes a death trap," she added.</p><p>Before ocean temperatures warmed, the waters of Maine were too cold for many of these sea turtles, Merigo echoed. Now, with warming sea surface temperatures, Maine can reach the high 70s to low 80s, which is "perfect turtle temperature," she said. The potential for more turtles getting trapped in the bay and then cold-stunned is nerve-racking for Merigo.</p><p>In addition to shifting habitats as waters warm, warming global temperatures also disrupt natural gender balance in sea turtles, Merigo warned. Gender is determined by the temperature of eggs in nests, and as the planet warms, it will result in all females at some point, she said.</p><p>"The turtles we work with are all endangered and threatened," Merigo said. "For sea turtles in general, the future is a little grim. Climate change is real; it does impact them."</p>
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