12 September 2007

R.I.P. Sea Creatures

*Warning: Dead Animal Pictures Below*

Not many people enjoy seeing bones and remains of animals but there's something about the Jekyll Island graveyard that keeps bringing me back. Jekyll has a crew that cleans the roads and beaches of any dead animals. They dump them all at an unmarked location near one of the beach access points. I always like to take peak in the area and see what's been washing onshore. Usually, you find plenty of sea turtles like these two:

This was an extra special trip to the graveyard for me because I saw my first manatee remains. There were actually two decomposing bodies there. You can see some of the skin clumped at the top of the picture. I never knew that their rib bones were so thick but it makes sense considering their heavy body.

Most of the graveyard is scattered with turtles, dolphins and the like but occansionally you find a bird skeleton laying around like this one.

This last bone is a mystery for me. It was fairly large in size, over 15 inches in width. If anyone knows what it could be let me know.

Usually the deer flies will run you off at the graveyard but it was a nice brief trip. I never stay more than a few minutes there because eventually the deaths of these beautiful creatures start to disturb me. I rather have them swimming freely out in the Atlantic than seeing them scattered about a sandy dune. The sea turtles are mostly bycatch deaths from shrimp boats. Even with TEDs, the largest turtles become trapped and drown. The manatees are probably boater collisions. I lived on Jekyll for 3 years and never saw a manatee (though I knew people that did) and at this rate, I probably never will. It's too bad that we have such a high impact on the wildlife around us.

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