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Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center Contributes Vital Data As Part of Species360

Sweet Pea was found in Alabama in August 2017 after ingesting fishing hooks and getting entangled in fishing gear. Today she is an ambassador-in-residence for education at the Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center. (Photo courtesy of NBSTCC)

Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center (NBSTCC) has joined the community of zoos, aquariums, wildlife refuges, and breeding centers that curate and share vital information as part of Species360. Located on the Gulf Coast of the United States and started through grassroots community work, the Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center’s mission is to conserve and protect threatened and endangered sea turtles through education and partnered research.

Founded through grassroots community involvement, the Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center’s mission “to conserve and protect threatened and endangered sea turtles through community education and partnered research” has taken hold across the Florida panhandle and beyond.

As a member of Species360, Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center will curate and manage animal care and species information using the Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS). Its animal care teams will use ZIMS to help ensure the welfare of each animal through nutrition, enrichment, and medical treatments, while also allowing its work and experiences to help inform other wildlife organizations around the world.

“We are honored to be accepted as a member of Species360. Being part of a global network of people working to improve the health and welfare of animals is a wonderful opportunity.  The NBSTCC is home to a green sea turtle, tortoises, terrapins and several aquatic animals, not only will ZIMS support our mission, but our hope is to become an integral and collaborating part of this wonderful community,” said Cathy Holmes, Founder and CER (Conservation Education Research) Director, Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center.

More than 100 zoos, aquariums, wildlife refuges, breeding and conservation centers joined Species360 in the past year, including: Kyoto Zoo, the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (Indonesia), The Kiwi Trust, or “Kiwis for Kiwi” (New Zealand), Australian National Baboon Colony, National Aviary of Colombia, Cheetah Sanctuary (South Africa), Vancouver Aquarium of the Ocean Wise Conservation Association (Canada), St. Louis Aquarium and Mississippi Aquarium (United States), The Scientific Center of Kuwait, Tashkent Zoo (Uzbekistan), and seven leading Japanese zoos and aquariums. These institutions join long-time leaders within the Species360 community, including San Diego Zoo Global, Wildlife Conservation Society, Zoological Society of London, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, Sydney Zoo, and more.

When beaches re-open, Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center will resume hosting its popular Trash Bash clean-ups. (Photo courtesy of NFWDaily)

Animal data recorded by NBSTCC staff further enhances global knowledge of species. When aggregated and analyzed worldwide, information contributed by Species360 members delivers insights that help to combat disease, identify and treat medical conditions, and improve the welfare of animals. For example, the ZIMS for Studbooks solution launched in 2018 is used by regional and international studbook coordinators, species survival program (SSP) and taxon advisory group (TAG) leaders to make informed decisions impacting the genetic diversity and health of populations.

A typical single volunteer’s collection of trash during a “Trash Bash” hosted by Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center.

By showcasing the unique natural resources of Northeast Florida, the NBSTCC provides visitors with knowledge they need to make a difference, within the immediate region and beyond. The conservation center impresses upon the community the importance of sea turtle conservation and the preservation of the world’s marine resources for the enjoyment of future generations.

Through education and hands on learning experiences, its programs inspire individuals by showing them that one person can make a difference not only locally but also globally. More than 32,000 guests visited the center in 2019, participating in educational programs and leaving with new understanding of the role of sea turtles and other vital aspects of the ecosystem.

Ongoing community support has enabled NBSTCC to add living and static exhibits that highlight local marine animals and their habitat. Its main saltwater pool is home to Sweet Pea, a green sea turtle that was not able to be returned to the Gulf of Mexico due to her injuries, and Sweet Pea has earned the love and admiration of a new generation of fans.

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