3 Inspiring Stories for World Oceans Day

An eel peers out from a enclosure of sea anemones. Credit: Enric Sala / National Geographic

On June 8, ocean lovers around the globe will celebrate World Oceans Day. Many charismatic species of wildlife including whales, sea turtles, chambered nautilus, and coral live in the blue deeps of our seas and unite people around the world with a sense of wonder and awe.

Gabon’s marine protected area network will help protect pelagic fish populations such as these rainbow runners. Credit: Enric Sala / National Geographic

1. Gabon Expands Marine Protected Area Network

This week our partners in the African country of Gabon furthered their commitment to ocean conservation by adding nine new marine parks and 11 new aquatic reserves, in a move that will curb illegal fishing and help protect the rich diversity of species in their waters and on their shores.

A pair of bottlenose dolphins frolic in the waters of Mayumba National Park, previously the country’s only national park dedicated to the protection of marine species and one of the locations of a recent coastal survey by WCS, National Geographic, and Gabon’s Agence Nationale de Parcs Nationaux (ANPN). Credit: © Peadar Brehony
Mexico has a resident winter whale population that until recently, was not well-studied or understood. Credit: Joelle de Weerdt / Whales of Guerrero

2. Solving a Whale Mystery — with Temporary Tattoos, Ecotourism, and Local Communities

How do you empower local communities to champion the conservation of their region’s wildlife? This rich, in-depth interview talks about some of the creative strategies of the Whales of Guerrero Research Project, a Service-supported project that aims to learn more about a previously unstudied group of humpback whales that winter off of the western Mexican coast and migrate up the Pacific Coast of the United States.

A leatherback sea turtle rescue. Credit: Jeff Howe / USFWS

3. Rescuing a Huge Leatherback Sea Turtle

Eight hundred pounds of anything is a heavy lift — even for a lot of people with a big crane and adrenaline pumping because they were saving a massive leatherback sea turtle trapped in waters near a South Florida power plant. “Participating in wildlife rescues is a rewarding experience. This was a great opportunity for all of us to get away from our desks and do something directly for one of the many species we work to protect as Service employees in South Florida,” Steve Traxler says.

Loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia. Credit: USFWS

Bonus Story! What You Can Do to Help Sea Turtles

All six sea turtle species that are found in U.S. waters or that nest on U.S. beaches are designated as either threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. While these animals may be at risk, there are things we can do to help them as we continue to live with them along the coasts.

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