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TCI Turtles Fitted with Satellite Transmitters on the Move!

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ATI (2 of 5)

ATI (3 of 5)Providenciales, 14 May 2015 – Two more teenage green turtles have been captured and fitted with hi-tech satellite transmitters, then released on the Caicos Banks as part of ongoing research by the Turks and Caicos Islands Turtle Project (TCITP) to find out about the movements of these spectacular animals. At the beginning of the month TCITP staff from the UK’s Marine Conservation Society, the Department of Environment and Maritime Affairs (DEMA) and the Amanyara Resort worked with South Caicos fishermen to catch the turtles and attach the transmitters.

While one of the turtles, named Sea Biscuit, has remained close to Ocean Hole where they were released 10 days ago, the other turtle, Yara, started heading west yesterday, possibly on a ‘developmental migration’, a rarely recorded and poorly understood behavior that the project hopes to track.

“Little is known about the habits and movements of sub-adult, or teenage, turtles. Unlike nesting adult female turtles, these teenagers spend all their time at sea and so are less accessible and much harder to study,” said Dr Peter Richardson of the Marine Conservation Society, “We can track these turtles in TCI because we work with South Caicos fishermen who are experts at catching them, and so far in this research we recorded TCI teenage turtle developmental migrations to Colombia, Cuba and North Carolina in the USA.”

So far the TCITP has tracked 19 turtles, including 13 teenage green turtles, four adult hawksbills and 2 adult green turtles, one of which was Suzie. Suzie was the first turtle to be tracked in TCI and in 2009 migrated over 3,700 miles through the territories of 15 different countries before returning to TCI in January 2010.

“The recent movements of Yara are very exciting, this turtle could be migrating away from TCI and if so, we really don’t know where she is going, so we’ll be experiencing new scientific discovery before our very eyes,” said Dr Richardson, “We are so very grateful to the support of the Amanyara Turtle Initiative and Amanyara guests Stephen Meringoff and Kim Charlton for generously supporting this exciting research – and thanks to them anyone can track the journeys of these amazing animals by going to the Marine Conservation Society’s website where there are dedicated TCI turtle tracking pages.”

Green turtles are listed as ‘endangered’ by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and are considered a culturally important marine resource in the Turks and Caicos Islands. They have been fished and enjoyed for centuries in the TCI, and, in more recent decades, have also been a highlight for many divers and snorkelers holidaying in the islands. The tracking study hopes to understand which feeding areas are important to these large green turtles in TCI waters, whether or not these areas need protection, and which other countries share green turtle populations with the TCI

The TCITP is a collaborative initiative involving DEMA, local fishermen, the UK’s Marine Conservation Society and University of Exeter, Duke University in the USA, the School for Field Studies in South Caicos and the Amanyara Resort in Providenciales. The Project has been carrying out biological research, social research and extensive stakeholder engagement with fishing communities in the TCI since 2008, primarily through former Project Officer Amdeep Sanghera.

The TCITP’s recommendations, which were produced through consultation with fishermen, to amend and improve the legislation that regulates the TCI’s traditional turtle fishery were approved by TCI Government last year and came into force in July. The new regulations introduced new size limits, including 18 inch minimum shell length and 24 inch maximum shell length size limits for green and hawksbill turtles. These new limits protect small turtles, as well as large teenage and breeding adult turtles in TCI, but still allow fishers to access juvenile turtles of a good eating size. An eight-month closed season for hawksbills was also introduced during the lobster open season, which gives hawksbill turtles additional protection during their peak breeding season.

The new turtle fishery regulations, including the new size limits, have been printed on T-shirts bearing a turtle image and the slogan “Size Matters in the Turks and Caicos Islands” and are currently being distributed by DEMA to promote the new laws.

Sea Biscuit and Yara are larger than 24 inch shell length and so are now protected under TCI fishery laws. The tracking study hopes to discover where these teenage turtles go and understand whether or not they are protected in the other countries they visit.

DEMA respectfully requests anyone encountering a turtle fitted with a satellite transmitter in TCI waters to please leave it well alone and report it to DEMA officers. People are encouraged to track the turtles online by logging into www.mcsuk.org/conservation_in_action/Marine+turtles/Tracking+turtles

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TCI Hospital’s Magnetic Resonance Imagining (MRI) upgrade is on schedule

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#TurksandCaicos, June 16, 2022 – InterHealth Canada Turks and Caicos Islands Hospital will soon have a new GE SIGNA™ 1.5T Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine, a development expected to significantly reduce wait times for patients visiting the Cheshire Hall Medical Centre.

First, the existing scanner was de-installed and required a crane to deposit the 20,000 pounds machine from the radiology department through a specially-cut hatch at the side waiting room wall for the safe navigation and removal of the old machine.

An intensive undertaking also included removing and replacing the RF Cage, which paves the way for quick installation of the new machine. The TCI Hospital’s RF Cage, which prevents radio frequency noise from entering the room and distorting the image of the MRI scan, is already on-site and is scheduled for installation by the end of June 2022 by the installation team from the United States. The works include the construction of the side walls, panelling, ceiling, illuminated picture and connections to ventilation.

In preparation for the day of delivery of the new MRI Machine by early July 2022, the TCI Hospital have also completed all electrical works.

The next step is the safe installation and connection of all components of the unit by GE contractors, followed by the final internal and external finishes, including the installation of fixtures and fittings such as coil storage cabinets and external cupboards and furniture. Once these last finishing touches are completed and checks completed, the MRI will be operational in early August 2022.

The radiology team have spent the past several months working in a much-reduced space to allow building work in preparation for the new MRI. In addition, the Imaging team have also undergone training and certifications in new software applications and MRI safety, with the IM&T and Biomedical Engineering teams to follow. All staff at the TCI will undergo safety MRI training.

The TCI Hospital is grateful for the support and understanding of the public and TCI Hospital colleagues during the disruption caused by this critical upgrade to the MRI Unit at the Cheshire Hall Medical Centre.

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Major Shortage; White House says hunt is on for Baby Food

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#USA, May 14, 2022 – An Infant formula shortage in the U.S. exacerbated by the formula recall by Abbott Nutrition is  threatening the lives of babies and worrying parents.

Last week 40 percent of  formulas were out of stock in the U.S. White House Press Secretary Jen Pesaki says the FDA is working hard to address the issue.

“What the FDA is doing includes working with major infant formula manufacturers to ensure they’re increasing production, because part of this issue is, of course, making sure there is stock on the shelves and working with the industry right now to optimize their supply lines, product sizes to increase capacity, and prioritizing product lines that are of greatest needs.”

Meanwhile Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) which provides formula and other goods to low income mothers is warning against trying to make formula at home saying too much could go wrong.

“Your baby could suffer long-term harm if they do not get the right blend of nutrition. Even a short period of poor nutrition can be harmful.  Do not try to make more formula by adding extra water. Adding extra water to formula is dangerous and can lead to very serious health problems.”

The Guardian reports that parents who are now traveling over state lines and using Facebook and EBay  to secure formula, describe the situation as a ‘nightmare.’

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Earth Day Immersion at Graceway Communities Marketplace  

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, May 12, 2022 – The second staging of Graceway IGA’s Earth Day celebration was a success. It was hosted by the Graceway Communities (the philanthropic arm of Graceway Supermarkets) in association with the National Trust, Graceway Supermarkets, Department of Environment and Coastal Resources (DECR) and Department of Agriculture.

The Market was designed to educate people about the environment, promote conservation, and encourage them to get involved and invest in the planet, act boldly, innovate and implement.

The event was supported by the community and others who came out in their numbers to buy fruits, seedlings, trees, plants, and other earth-friendly items, like ocean-friendly products that were being sold.

The winners of the Graceway Supermarkets Earth Day Art Competition 2022 were also announced. In first place was Chanel Missick from the Mills Institute, second place was Enarij Dickenson from Eliza Simmons Primary, and third place was Mavalicia Mullings from the Mills Institute.

Minister of Environment, Maritime and Disaster Management Josephine Connelly was also present at the celebration.

In giving her address at the event on April 22, Connelly said climate change is real and the Turks and Caicos Islands are low lying areas. As such, “we are susceptible to flood and high seas.” Therefore “the necessary mechanisms must be put in place to cope with what’s going on in our country.”

The Minister noted that the Charter launched at the Climate Change Summit is a guideline to mitigate what is happening in the TCI. She further mentioned that the TCI will be collaborating with all stakeholders and international organizations to unite as one where climate change is concerned.

Minister Connelly congratulated Graceway IGA for hosting the celebration, noting that they should continue to do this because “it is good for us.”

She also encouraged everyone to play their part in Climate Change, stating that the easiest thing to do is to plant a tree.

Travel Designer at Luxury Experiences Turks, and Caicos, Val Kalliecharan, was also present at the Earth Day celebration. He said the initiative was impressive, and Graceway Supermarkets should “keep up the good job.”

The Turks and Caicos National Trust were the charity participant in the Earth Day celebrations.

The Trust expressed its gratitude to the Graceway Supermarkets for partnering with the organization’s mission to protect our environment.

“We are honoured for this recognition and most charitable donations that will help us to continue our important works, entrusted to us by our communities, we implore you to visit our website and become members of TCNT. More importantly, please contact us and find out how you can help us to preserve and protect our Wetlands, our environment and our beautiful by nature TCI,” said the Turks and Caicos National Trust.

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