150 Hawksbill Hatchlings safely reach the Ocean

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On September 25, at dawn, KIDO Guide Solomon on turtle patrol in Anse La Roche beach, part of High North Nature Park, discovered 5 hawksbill hatchlings, barely emerged from a nest he had located and duly recorded 58 days earlier. The babies crawled across the white sand into the calm crystal clear water of the bay, evading menacing crab claws and bird predators; yet, as sun rays shone over the High North forest ridge, 36 more hatchlings pushed out of the sand. Exhausted by their effort, the babies hunk still together in the one square foot of nest surface, to wait until the evening coolness and darkness would protect their vital rush toward the beckoning Ocean.

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Guide Solomon knew this early bunch needed to be swiftly rescued from other competing beach patrollers, night herons and marine birds beginning to crowd the sky over Anse La Roche bay: to these birds hatchlings are food they can afford only a few months a year and no chance to swoop down & peck the babies would go wasted!

Our night and early dawn nest-patrols ensure the survival of generations of sea turtles at their most crucial stage of development.

Following WIDECAST procedures, KIDO turtle guides collect hatchlings emerged on early mornings, keep them in a container with humid sand in a dark spot and release them in the early evening.

Critically endangered species, such as newborn hawksbill turtles, have so many odds against their survival that only one in 1,000 eggs is estimated to reach reproductive age, some 30 years later!

 

5At dusk, KIDO Turtle Team (Dario, Marina & Dawnell) hiked the trail across the hills to Anse La Roche beach to release the 36 tiny creatures and verify the state of the nest. We had the pleasant surprise to watch a slow ‘river’ of hatchlings emerging there and then from the same nest: a total of 109, coming out ten at a time!

 

Our presence ensured that, under our watch, no crabs and nor night herons would feast on the vulnerable babies and they all reached the Ocean safely. Within a few strokes of their little fins the hatchlings swam beneath the waves and disappeared.

4After all babies appeared to have emerged from the nest, Dario found a few stragglers imprisoned under a web of thin roots overgrowing  the rim of the nest, and one hatchling part in his shell who had just torn it open, but was straight-jacketed, unable to stretch out because of the root ends entwining the entire egg shell.  Dario carefully cut off each root twine and all stragglers were placed to recover under the keen gaze of volunteer Dawnell, until an hour or so later they slowly unfolded their round posture, and began to crawl correctly aiming for the sea, 20 long feet away.

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Then Marina examined each shell in the empty nest and determined that a total of 171 eggs were laid and that 160 hatchlings had emerged alive.  A very successful nest development rate! And Teamwork!

We know for sure that 150 made it to the sea and hope that the remaining 10 avoided the beach predators in their treacherous passage from their nest to the Ocean.


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Nesting Sea Turtles & Recycled Plastic Bottles Boat

Get Involved!
Dear Friends of KIDO!

News from KIDO Planet: Nesting sea turtles & recycled plastic bottles boat

Our 2015 nesting sea turtles season is almost over, leatherback, hawksbill and green turtles have nested on our monitored beaches.

The highlight of the season was the rescue, tag and release of a leatherback mother poached by two fishers.

Kids with Cameras rescue poached leatherback turtle

Our Kids with Cameras group was present and very persuasive in this rescue, the kids stared so hard at the two poachers that these guys could not openly request a ransom and had to cut the ropes releasing to us this illegally caught and dragged ashore endangered species, all 700 pounds of her !

5 Leatherback hatchlings were found under a dry Sargassum trap

The same kids also helped us to clear Petit Carenage nesting turtle beach of the excess Sargassum seaweeds, to allow new born hatchlings to safely reach the Ocean.

Kids with Cameras clear Sargassum off Petit Carenage beach

Ironically, once out in the open sea currents, Sargassum floating patches protect and nourish baby turtles, until they are large enough to swim away.

Feel free to watch our video here.

KIDO Summer Cat

A 10×5 ft catamaran, KIDO Summer Cat, was built with the kids help of recycled plastic bottles and other materials.
She successfully made her maiden 5 km sea voyage on the last day of the 50th Carriacou Regatta 2015 and became a model of a recycling plastic project that others can replicate and expand to several creative concepts, for an Ocean and beaches free of Plastics!
How you can help!

Our 2015 fundraising efforts to support KIDO environmental conservation and youth education activities continue.

How does it work?

Shop online at the same stores you shop at normally, get the best deals and earn Cashback while benefitting KIDO as well with each purchase!

The Stores pay DubLi commissions on the products you buy.

DubLi passes these commissions right back to you in the form of Cashback (not vouchers, but real cash) and concurrently they support KIDO Foundation for our environmental and educational programs.

The program is FREE to join and DUBLI gives US$10, loaded directly into your account upon registration.

All you need to do is register, shop and save.

With each purchase you make at your favorite stores (Apple, Microsoft, Walmart, Best Buy, Home Depot, Expedia, Orbitz and more) YOU earn Cashback and KIDO also receives a small donation without any cost to you!

The donations to KIDO do not come out of your Cashback amounts!

These are donated to KIDO by the company hosting the program.

To start shopping, saving and supporting KIDO, just click on the following link:
Help & Earn Money »
Thank You for Your Support

Dario, Marina and the KIDO Team in Carriacou (since 1995)

Kido Planet was formally know as Kido Project

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KIDO Environmental Youth Program 2014 – 2015

KIDO Environmental Youth Program Video

RSG New Logo

 

 

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Sea Turtle Nesting Season 2014 – 2015

13 - July 27, 2014. Petit Carenage. A heartfelt moment for volunteer Cecilia holding newly emerged hatchling  of leatherback mother WC 841126 - Petit Carenage, March 22, 2015. Guide Solomon Stafford & volunteer Rickie with post-nesting returnee Leatherback 'Tululla' WC 6202

10 - July 13, 2014. Petit Carenage. RA Antonia Peters relocates eggs while hawksbill  mother (WH 7966) drops them. This nest location was unsafe

 

9 - July 11, 2014. Petit Carenage. Guide Solomon, RA Antonia and UK volunteer Lucie with post-nesting hawksbill tagged WS 0628

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to The Rufford Small Grant Foundation

for its support of sea turtle conservation in the Caribbean region
RSG New Logo

 

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May 23, 2015 – Rescue, Tag & Release of Poached Leatherback Turtle

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Illegally caught & dragged ashore, a female leatherback turtle, fully protected as endangered species all year around by law, was successfully rescued by Kids with Cameras Carriacou with KIDO rescue team in Windward.

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Compassion will save the world, but love of other creatures will prevent a lot of unnecessary suffering

 

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Tag and measure was done swiftly

 

 

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FREE AT LAST ! The water in the photo shows excess Sargassum seaweeds invading the Eastern shore. This unprecedented level of Sargassum growth has been plaguing the Eastern Caribbean islands

 

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May 12, 2015 – Unusual Day Nesting of Leatherback in Hillsborough, Carriacou

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The leatherback turtle diligently disguises the location of her nest. This is an important part of her post-nesting behavior, ensuring as much as possible that the eggs may hatch several weeks later undisturbed by predators

In May this year a leatherback female turtle crawled up Hillsborough town beach in full day and laid her precious eggs under the eyes of a crowd of about fifty people; most were in awe, many recording the event with their cell and iPad, but a couple…just waiting for the crowd to dissipate to poach the eggs!

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Photographers, journalists, fishery officer, teachers, students and mothers followed attentively the slow acrobatics of this endangered creature, whose species, Dermochelys coriacea, is known to science to have lived in the era of dinosaurs

 

KIDO Turtle Team was called into action.
At the end of the nesting and turtle tagging process, the same ‘would-be-poachers’ helped us to dig out a bucketful of 94 eggs that we relocated to a safer area of the beach away from town!

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Mommy Leatherback goes back to the Ocean. She may be back to nest in a couple of years and may travel as far North as Nova Scotia or to South African waters ! Leatherbacks feed mainly and massively on jellyfish.

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Shopping at our Online Fundraising Mall you support KIDO Foundation and earn Cashback on the things you already buy every day!

Dear Friends of KIDO Foundation,

We have started our 2015 fundraising efforts to support KIDO environmental conservation and youth education work, which may be of interest to you too.

With the new KIDO Foundation fundraising partner DUBLI, a Cashback Shopping and Travel Portal is now available to shop online at the same stores you shop at normally, get the best deals and you earn Cashback with each purchase.

Your purchases bring KIDO benefits as well! It’s a winning combination!

How does it work?

DubLi has a network of thousands of online stores and travel companies around the world that pay DubLi commissions on the products you buy. DubLi passes these commissions right back to you in the form of Cashback (not vouchers, but real cash) and concurrently they support KIDO Foundation raising  funds for our environmental and educational programs while you shop.

  • The program is FREE to join and DUBLI gives $10, loaded directly into your account upon registration so you can start earning and saving right away.
  • All you need to do is register, shop and save. With each purchase you make at your favorite stores (Apple, Walmart, Best Buy, Home Depot, Expedia, Orbitz and more) YOU earn Cashback and KIDO also receives a small donation.
  • The donations we get do not come out of your Cashback amounts! These are donated to KIDO by the company hosting the program.
  • With our new program you give and receive;Cashback on your own purchases and a donation to KIDO.

 

See how it Works:

Thank You for Your Support

Dario, Marina and the KIDO Team in Carriacou

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Sea Turtle Nesting & Rescue/Release

Having a close encounter with sea turtles is an amazing experience, like meeting a prehistoric animal. In fact these creatures lived at the same time as dinosaurs, 100 million years ago. They survived the glacial era, yet today’s relentless destruction of turtles and their habitat may bring the species to a fast extinction. There is much we can do to prevent this dramatic process. Helping mother turtles to nest safely and protecting their nests and hatchlings is essential for their population to survive the odds against them and for maintaining the balance of the marine ecosystem.

034Critically Endangered Hawksbill and Leatherback turtles nest on the beaches of Carriacou island, in the Grenadines. Human impacts affecting our sea turtles include: loss of suitable nesting beaches due to development and sand mining, accidental and targeted capture of turtles, poaching of nesting turtles and eggs.

Our ongoing Kido Nesting Sea Turtle Monitoring & Tagging program started in 2002. It is part of Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation
   Network (WIDECAST) and is assisted by UWI Department of Biology specialists. During these 12 years, the presence of Kido Turtle Teams on nesting beaches discouraged the practice of illegal collection of turtle eggs. We never had confrontations with egg collectors and in fact we know that many consumers gave up eating turtle eggs altogether.

Rescue & Release Operations

In the State of Grenada the sea turtle hunting season is closed from May 1st to August 31st, leaving eight months of legal turtle fishing activities. This is the longest “open season” in the world and the pressure put on the seasonal foraging and nesting sea turtle population is enormous. Only the critically endangered Leatherback and all turtle eggs are legally protected, but the enforcement of this legislation is difficult to implement. Occasionally, huge Leatherbacks get helplessly entangled in fishermen nets between March-April, infamously ending their ocean wide journey just before reaching their nesting sites, the beaches of Grenada & the Grenadines. Because the very short ‘closed season’ does not cover effectively the true nesting season of our turtles, many of the catches are nesting turtles that roam along the coastal waters.  This severely impacts the numbers of the nesting populations of sea turtles in Grenada and the Grenadines.

Kido began Rescue & Release operations of captured sea turtles in 2002. During the open hunting turtle period, from September 1st to April 30th, a number of turtles caught alive in nets by fishermen are purchased by Kido, measured, tagged and released with the agreement that, if caught again by the fishermen, they are to be released cost free. After tagging & measuring, the animal is released in a safe deep-sea area with no nets in sight, often with the help of Lumbadive staff and within the Carriacou Marine Protected Area.

Kido Rescue Team is conscious not to foster any increase of the local turtle hunt demand. To regulate the turtle purchases, we operate only with fishermen who catch turtles with their nets as part of their traditional livelihood or have by-catch turtles in their fishing nets. It is our experience that, were we not to buy off the live turtles, these would be left to suffer greatly, slaughtered or sent to mainland Grenada alive, on their back, for their final destination in St. George’s fish market, enduring much cruel suffering for several days.

To date we successfully rescued, tagged & released (from the pot) 326 sea turtles.

This program is financed by Kido mainly through private personal donations.

“Adopt a Sea Turtle “ as a present to your family & friends.

kidoplanetinfo@gmail.com

You receive a Certificate of Adoption with photos of the adopted one and we will keep you informed if we encounter your turtle again, on the sea or nesting.

Kido views its Rescue & Release program as a temporary alleviation of sea turtle population decline until a moratorium on sea turtle hunting is approved by the Government of Grenada.

Please sign our petition below for a total moratorium of Sea Turtle hunting in the State of Grenada:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/228/115/847/

Watch the video below of a leatherback rescue:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=CjtSL9nXN7Y

 

kidoplanetinfo@gmail.com

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Wildlife Rescue Stories

Donella, March 2006Donella, the Leatherback turtle

March 2006, Carriacou, Grenadines archipelago, in the southern West Indies:  KIDO team was showing a slide presentation to a primary school classroom, to highlight the desperate plight of sea turtles, relentlessly hunted and killed in cruel ways by humans, directly and indirectly all over our planet.

The children remained silent; they were fascinated by the images and stories about these magnificent animals.  As we were about to leave the school, Donell, a 10-year-old boy, rushed to our vintage Land Rover emphatically alerting us that a huge black turtle had been dragged on a nearby beach to be slaughtered! We wasted no time and drove away with Donell to guide us to the site.  Indeed, he brought us to a massive creature, turned upside down, helpless and suffering!

A Leatherback, the most endangered of sea turtle species and a female !!!

Dario, Donell & Donella, March 2006 With the help of local volunteers we set forth to return this amazing animal to the sea, where she belonged.  Of course, we first had to make a deal with the fishers who had unintentionally, they so claimed, caught the turtle in their fish net.

After wetting the turtle with buckets of sea water to prevent the dehydration of her skin, we dug a hole in the ground alongside her to facilitate the ‘turning over’ of her estimated 1000 lbs of body weight. This took seven persons to accomplish, including Donell, our truly courageous rescuer boy!

We also swiftly tagged her back flippers (an operation similar to human ear piercing) with numbered tags provided by UWI Biology Department, Barbados, West Indies and helped the behemoth turtle to reach the sea. After two hours of pushing and coaching, she reached the shallows of the southern lagoon and took off swimming slowly, albeit confused, into deeper water across the reef bar.

Finally she was free!  But the eventful story of Donnella, the leatherback named after her rescuer, did not end here.

Donella with KIDO volunteers, March 2008Two months later, KIDO Nesting Sea Turtle Team on night patrol met Donella nesting on a lone sandy beach in the North end of Carriacou. She still bore the scars of the ropes, used by fishers to forcibly drag her on land for hundreds of feet in March.

And she returned to nest on that same beach at night in 2008 and 2010. Her return every two years, was the happiest of omens for our team working with endangered species to ensure the future of sea turtles!

 

Peli, the one-footed Pelican

Years ago we received a message from Dean, a naturalist living in St. Lucia: a young female brown pelican had been rescued from stoning by a group of delinquents, who did not know nor cared what a pelican was!

Historically, the brown pelican colonies in St.Lucia had been exterminated decades earlier following the massive use of DDT pesticide sprayed on banana crops along the coast. Rains washed the poisonous chemical into the sea contaminating the coastal fish and the resident pelicans, whose diet is based on such small fish, were severely affected. They began to lay eggs that never got hard, the hardening process was chemically impaired… the pelicans were doomed.  So Peli, so named by her rescuers, was likely a transient bird who landed to rest but was unfortunately spotted and pelted with rocks.

Peli, one-legged rescued pelican 1A nature park ranger rescued the large bird, but her palmed foot was so badly crushed that the vet decided to amputate.  Peli had lost her foot, but not her strong will to adapt and survive and she recovered under the loving care of Dean, who fed her fresh fish and even took her to the beach daily (in his car) for a swim and a stroll on the beach.

Time came when Peli was ready for release in the wild, hopefully to join a colony of fellow brown pelicans: but where? Not in St Lucia with no pelicans in sight!

Dean found out that small colonies of resident pelicans still existed in Carriacou and that KIDO was the name for wildlife rescues, rehab & release.

Peli, one-legged rescued pelican 2Legal ‘immigration’ papers for Peli were prepared and the bird was flown with a private two-seat plane from St. Lucia to Carriacou.  Her release into the flock of wild pelicans in the bay of Anse La Roche beach, near Kido Eco station, was surprisingly smooth and fast. Peli observed attentively from the beach the pelicans on nearby rocks, then tested the bay water and flew back twice, landing close as if to say goodbye to Dean and KIDO team.  Then up she went, wings spread out, missing foot and all, catching a thermal lift with her new avian family who joined her in near magical gliding spirals.

We spotted Peli several times again, for years, circling and dropping down in sharp dives for small fish in the clear waters of Kido bay, her stump hanging down slightly was an easy sign to recognize, while she enjoyed her happy life under the Caribbean sky.

 

 

Melon-headed whale

It was a calm windless afternoon when we received a wildlife emergency call from an island resident: in a small bay a mile south of KIDO bay, a dolphin in distress had been spotted!

Equipment ready, we jumped into our inflatable tender and in minutes we motored to the bay of Craigston. There he was, not exactly a dolphin, but a melon-headed whale, an adult 8-9 feet long, a species that often travels with large pods of dolphins. The distress was real!

Rescue & Release of stranded Melon Headed Whale April 05The whale was frantically circling in shallow waters and suddenly diving fast hitting his nose on the hard sand bottom at full speed. His whole body, some 200 kilos of weight, would be shaken in the impact!  This cetacean had possibly lost contact with his pod, maybe while chasing mackerel inshore and got trapped in shallow waters, his eco-location system sending feedback signals of close obstacles all around.

That bay is indeed surrounded by near offshore islets, cays and shallow reefs and it is known that melon headed whales do not take shallow water lightly: they tend to panic! This one surely was increasingly panicked and we were in the water observing his erratic behavior to work out a helping strategy.

We dove and swam along in turns to first show the cetacean that we were not a threat.

Then, KIDO volunteer Adam, 16 and a fast swimmer, was the first to manage to gently stroke the animal, who circled back for a repeat, then slowed his pace and eventually came to a stop… in the arms of our elated volunteer! Surely this was a once in a lifetime event with such a wild creature!

We were thus able to examine him while caressing his entirely smooth body. He had no wounds, but our attentions seemed to reassure him even further: the 200-kilo whale was now following us!

Evening approaches fast in the tropics and we had been for several hours in the water already; we were facing the challenge of how to push the whale back to the open sea, at least one mile out where the sun sphere was about to sink, west. We gently directed him alongside our rubber dinghy and, while Dario was motoring very slowly, Adam, leaning over the side, embraced the whale’s head and I held the tail off the swirling metal blade of the propeller.

The one mile journey back to KIDO bay lasted an amazing hour in which the animal indicated to Adam when he wanted to lift his head up to the surface and take a whale breath: total collaboration!

By moonless darkness we had reached KIDO, which is a small open bay, no natural obstructions all the way to the end of the continental shelf of the Grenadines and deeper waters.  Our new whale friend very calmly inspected the coastal borders of the bay causing utmost havoc in the resident fish population, fish were jumping out of the water wherever the whale went!

We knew we had to get this whale back out to the deeper sea, to reach his lost pod…these whale do not survive alone, so Dario and Adam lowered two kayaks from our sailing catamaran moored in the bay and began to paddle in the dark, each kayak at the side of the whale, stroking his back and dorsal fin and encouraging him to follow them towards the deep…

This whale did just that, for almost a mile into the night away from land, spraying now and then fish smelly blows from his nose. When the light coastal waves morphed to a long heavier swell the whale slipped forward into the ocean.

Later that night we learned that melon-headed whales have a reputation to be neither friendly nor cooperative when humans try to train them and that they can respond aggressively. Because of their ‘character’, they are not targeted (good for them) and trapped to be enslaved in aquariums for water circus performances.

Well, our melon-headed whale seemed to understand very well that we were trying to rescue him and showed proof of the most intelligent cooperation and trust during the entire operation. Interspecies communication at work!

Reascued orphaned Barn Owl 1

Porthos, the Barn Owl

Porthos was one of our first successfully rescued & rehabbed barn owls.

The mother of three featherless baby owls was accidentally killed while humans were trying to remove the barn owl family from under the roof of an old house to be restored in Grenada. The Grenada SPCA asked us if KIDO (based 30 miles north across the sea) could take care of the three orphaned owlets.

The three weightless owlets came via ferry boat in a cardboard box with holes and LIVE BIRDS THIS SIDE UP written across in red.

Porthos was tiny as his two brothers, but a little stronger. His siblings, barely hatched, did not make it much longer and, from the moment they died, Porthos plunged in a depression so deep that he refused to eat. It seemed that he wanted do die. We had to force feed him, open his sharp beak and place down his throat lizards & mice for one month, all the while he grieved for his losses.

Then one day he woke up from his stupor and wanted to live again! He hopped about the large cage and his appetite increased. He would instantly grab meat shreds with his sharp talons, dragging them away to a safe spot to consume his meal voraciously. Independence was calling.

PorthosWithin a few weeks this little owl became so familiar with us and with our other animals around us that he would land on our head or on a dog’s back.  He was also extremely curious and aware when a newly rescued creature joined our KIDO Animal Sanctuary. During daytime Porthos chose to live perched on a pipe in our door-less shower, and using the bathroom sometimes required negotiating. Nighttime no trouble, the owl-in residence was out, active on the prowl.

We had also been concerned about human imprinting and his possible difficulties to relate to other owls, but our doubts disappeared when we were called to rescue another baby owl: it took Porthos three days to realize that the owlet was in dire need of food, then he started hunting for him! In the middle of the night, awakened by his powerful screech, we would get up, open the door of the baby owl enclosure and wait until Porthos would fly from the forest through the arched window of our house into the enclosure and feed the baby with a freshly caught small lizard or mouse! This, of course, four or five times every night for a few weeks.

Porthos thus raised several of our rescued owlets. Then one day, after launching so many mating calls chirping throughout the valley, she answered his call and he finally found the love of his life and started to build his own family. Porthos and his wife were prolific, every 6 months their den (a small plywood box tucked safely under the eaves of our dome home roof) was occupied by 3 or 4 owlets and the air in the night was filled by their voices. A concert of screeches, happy chirping, playful cat-calls (yes!) and often just plain complaining about neighbor owls!Porthos&Holdina love is two as one

We learned the blood curdling screech alerting that the tree boa constrictor is approaching; also, when the stealth opossum, or nocturnal monkey-fox, climbs the near reaching branches of a coconut palm, another terrifying owl shriek brings us all to attention!

Porthos maintained his relationship with humans while raising his avian family. After performing his duties as a father, he would often stand on the windowsill waiting to chat with me and receive some gentle scratching around his beautiful heart-shaped face and behind his owl ears. When family life was too much, he would resume his perch on the shower pipe in the bathroom for a day or two, we understood.

Today his sons and daughters continue to be around, feeding on mice and small lizards. One single owl may catch 1500 mice per year and a family of owls more than 5000 mice per year, keeping houses and barns free from destructive invasions and ensuring natural population control.

We are forever grateful to Porthos, the Owl who allowed us to enter his extraordinary world and comprehend his message: we, though of different species, are in this world all together and need to help one another. It works.

Please support KIDO rescue, rehab & release work:

kidoplanetinfo@gmail.com

Thank you !

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September 2014, KIDO’s 329th turtle rescue, tag & release

The juvenile hawksbill makes his run to freedom Sept 19, 2014 -2

The juvenile hawksbill makes his run to freedom

 

Marina, Dr. Lauren and Dr. Rupert with rescued male hawksbill before release

Marina, Dr. Lauren and Dr. Rupert with rescued male hawksbill before release

On September 19 a male hawksbill turtle was rescued from the pot, tagged and released by KIDO team. Hawksbill turtles are listed as worldwide Critically Endangered by IUCN.
Carriacou Animal Hospital volunteer veterinaries assisted during the release

Dr. Rupert and Dr. Lauren capture the magic moment

Dr. Rupert and Dr. Lauren capture the magic moment

 

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