Col Limpus and His Turtle Cowboys - to Save Endangered Sea Turtles, a Band of Aussie Researchers Parlays Reptile-Dogging at Sea to Cutting- Edge Science
Parrish, John, International Wildlife
I'm perched on the gunwale of a boat rocketing along at breakneck speed, getting ready to jump into the emerald waters of Australia's Moreton Bay. The boat slews in a tight half circle as marine scientist Col Limpus spots our quarry and steers hard right. About 25 yards away, a shadow glides over the sandy-bottomed shallows like an underwater flying saucer. "Get ready," he urges, bringing the boat alongside our target-a green sea turtle about the size of a Jeep tire. I dive into the water, landing on top of the startled reptile with an ungraceful belly flop. The turtle drags me under, knocking the breath out of me, then slaps my head with its scaly flippers.
My underwater bulldogging isn't just for kicks. As a curious journalist, I've come to Moreton Bay to be-for one day at least-a scientific cowboy performing in what Limpus, senior principal conservation officer with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, calls the "turtle rodeo." This annual five-day event is a quirky, nontraditional way to study sea turtles-a far cry from conventional research based on observations of egg-laying females on nesting beaches, yet one that is beginning to produce a treasure trove of new insights into the lives of these mysterious marine creatures.
And just in time. For millennia, sea turtles thrived in these waters off the coast of Australia, but beginning in the 1980s their numbers began to decline. Among other problems, the reptiles have been falling victim to hunting, pollution, collisions with speedboats and entanglement in fishing and crab-pot lines. Today five of the …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Col Limpus and His Turtle Cowboys - to Save Endangered Sea Turtles, a Band of Aussie Researchers Parlays Reptile-Dogging at Sea to Cutting- Edge Science. Contributors: Parrish, John - Author. Magazine title: International Wildlife. Publication date: September-October 2001. Page number: Not available. © 1994 National Wildlife Federation. COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.