Fillmore, the green sea turtle from the syndicated comic strip Sherman’s Lagoon, partnered with us so we could connect hundreds of thousands of readers to our conservation actions!
We were able to merge data from a real sea
turtle carrying a satellite-tracking device into the daily comic's
storyline. The strip’s creator, Jim Toomey, is an award-winning ocean conservation activist with a passion for helping sea turtles and protecting the remote Cocos Island National Park offshore of
Costa Rica where we lead sea turtle and shark conservation research.
Fillmore is an actual green sea turtle tagged by the Sea Turtle Restoration Project at Cocos Island for this special promotional partnership with Jim Toomery and Sherman's Lagoon. The satellite tag used is extremely high tech: costing $5,000, each tag can last for over a year of continuous submersion!
While Fillmore was adventuring at Cocos Island National Park, we shared an updated satellite map that showed his actual swim path around the island every day!
The entire adventure--from the lead-in comic strips, the daily updates, and the tracking map showing the actual movements of Fillmore the green sea turtle around Cocos Island--is here for you to follow below.
Fillmore's adventure was a mission to help sea turtles, and you can help! Share Fillmore’s Cocos adventure with friends of all ages (www.seaturtles.org/fillmore), post it on Facebook, and use our Tell a Friend website to email up to 20 friends at once!
November 14-16, 2011, Fillmore embarks on his Cocos adventure! Copyright Jim Toomey. Image used courtesy of the artist and may not be reproduced without permission.
November 17, 2011, Copyright Jim Toomey. Image used courtesy of the artist and may not be reproduced without permission.
Day 1 Update: Cocos Island, located 350 miles out in the Pacific Ocean, is a Costa Rican National Park as well as a United Nations World Heritage Site.
Jacques Cousteau called it “"the most beautiful island in the world,"
and marine researchers consider it a keystone ecosystem for the
restoration of numerous critical marine species, including sea turtles
and sharks. The Sea Turtle Restoration Project conducts semi-annual
research expeditions to Cocos, tagging turtles such as Fillmore with
Get friends, neighbors, co-workers and colleagues involved in saving sea turtles! Send Fillmore’s URL to them (www.seaturtles.org/fillmore), share it on Facebook, and use our tell a friend website to email up to 20 friends at once!
November 18, 2011, Copyright Jim Toomey. Image used courtesy of the artist and may not be reproduced without permission.
Day 2 Update: Fillmore's meandering to the east of Cocos Island in today's comic
strip below took him to an underwater cleaning station near Bajo Alcyone. Alcyone, an underwater mountain (called a sea mount), is a unique
area of the Cocos Island National Park, located south east of the main
island—but still within the 12-mile no-fishing protected area. It is
home to green and hawksbill
sea turtles, marbled rays, octupuses, moray eels and a managerie of
sharks. The scalloped hammerhead, like the one in today's comic strip,
congregate here in vast numbers but the fact is that they are listed as
endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
Today's action to help save sea turtles is to Take the Sea Turtle-Safe Seafood Pledge!
November 19, 2011, Copyright Jim Toomey. Image used courtesy of the artist and may not be reproduced without permission.
Day 3 Update: Cocos Island was designated as a national park by Costa Rica in 1978,
and a United Nations World Heritage Site in 1997. As a result of these
declarations, it has a “no-take” zone, extending 12 miles from its coast
line. This buffer, mentioned in today's Sherman's Lagoon comic strip below, provides a much needed haven from deadly longline fishing
for numerous endangered and threaten marine species such as green sea
turtles, hawksbill sea turtles, marble rays, whale sharks, hammerhead
sharks and tiger sharks--sadly, it is not enough.
Today's action: send a letter to the president of Costa Rica calling for expansion of the "no-take" zone!
November 21, 2011, Copyright Jim Toomey. Image used courtesy of the artist and may not be reproduced without permission.
Day 4 Update: The most amazing nesting behavior when sea turtles reproduce is the “arribada,” a mass nesting
practice of both Kemp’s and olive ridley sea turtles. Arribada means
“arrival” in Spanish, and it describes how thousands of ridley turtles all come onto the beach simultaneously to lay their eggs. Kemp's ridleys nest along the Gulf coast of Mexico and at Padre Island National Seashore in Texas, while olive ridleys
nest mostly in the Pacific ocean in countries such as Mexico, Costa
Rica, and Nicaragua.
To help sea turtles today, make a contribution to the Sea Turtle Restoration Project! Anything
you can do to raise awareness about the plight of sea turtles
helps--but please also consider a financial investment in the work that
November 22, 2011, Copyright Jim Toomey. Image used courtesy of the artist and may not be reproduced without permission.
Day 5 Update: Fillmore arrived today at Dirty Rock, a lonely crag of rock above the water--but below the
surface, an area teeming with life. At Dirty Rock, Fillmore has the
opportunity to see huge numbers of fish, including hammerhead sharks and
trevally jacks. Fishing for schooling like trevally creates another kind of threat
to sea turtles: gill-netting.
Because gillnets are suspended underwater, an ensnared sea turtle
cannot get back to the surface to breath. Instead, it drowns! Illegal gillnetting takes place all over the world, even in the Leatherback Conservation Area offshore
of California that Sea Turtle Restoration Project activists worked to
Seafood can be an important and delicious part of your diet, but eating too much of it can be bad for the oceans--and for you.
To learn more, visit www.GotMercury.org, and be sure to sign the petition that tells the Food and Drug Administration to do more to protect women and children from mercury poisoning.
November 23, 2011, Copyright Jim Toomey. Image used courtesy of the artist and may not be reproduced without permission.
Day 6 Update: Fillmore swam south past the edge of the Cocos Island National Park and into a deadly danger zone full of longline fishing hooks! He is outside the "No Take" area 12 nautical miles around Cocos Island where hooks and nets can snag him at any moment.
Global warming is the most important environmental issue facing us
today. While many people think about global warming in terms of hotter
summers, it also represents serious threats to sea turtles, especially
during the reproductive cycle of their lives. Visit the Action Center to support one of the many critical campaigns we are leading to save sea
turtles around the world from global warming and habitat destruction! Click here to support our action to halt Chevron's expansion into Australian sea turtle nesting beaches!
November 24, 2011, Copyright Jim Toomey. Image used courtesy of the artist and may not be reproduced without permission.
Day 7 Update: Fillmore is a green sea turtle—one of seven species of sea turtle in
the world. The species range in size range from the Kemp's ridley
(growing to weigh "only" 100 pounds) to the gentle giant of the oceans,
the leatherback, which can grow to be 9 feet long and weigh as much as
2,000 pounds. Sadly, leatherbacks are very close to extinction--after plying the oceans for over 100 million years. Click here to take action and demand an end to the delay in establishing protective critical habitat for these endangered sea turtles.
Join our family this Thanksgiving! Supporters who host "house parties" to
show one of our DVDs, like Last Journey for the Leatherback, get a free DVD to keep! See lots more at our Sea Turtle Store!
November 25, 2011, Copyright Jim Toomey. Image used courtesy of the artist and may not be reproduced without permission.
Day 8 Update: By signing up to follow Fillmore, you’ve been able to learn many
things about sea turtles and the threats they face—and also a lot about
what you can do to help them. One of the easiest things you can do is
stop using one item that starts right in your own home, and ends up in
your trashcan: the plastic bag! Why? Because sea turtles love to eat jellyfish. And what does a
plastic bag look like when its floating in the ocean? You guessed it: a
jellyfish! But when a sea turtle eats a plastic bag, bad things can
happen. The turtle can get very sick, and even die. Click here to learn more and watch our short Bag the Plastics campaign video!
To help sea turtles today, Bag the Plastics!; stop using plastic bags altogether and use paper or reusable shopping bags instead. For help starting a Bag
the Plasics movement in your town, contact marine toxicologist Chris Pincetich at the Sea Turtle Restoration Project!
November 26, 2011, Copyright Jim Toomey. Image used courtesy of the artist and may not be reproduced without permission.
Day 9 Update: You’ve already learned about the scalloped hammerheads that live at
Cocos Island—but there are numerous other species of shark here,
including white- and black-tip sharks, voracious tiger sharks and the peaceful and the majestic whale shark—the largest fish in the world. As part of its work at Cocos Island, the Sea Turtle Restoration Project
and its Costa Rican Partner, PRETOMA, track the location of various
shark species, using special acoustical tags that report shark movements
to pre-installed “listening stations”: each tag sends out a unique
sonic message, telling the listening station which shark is in the area.
Become a “citizen scientist” to help sea turtles today! PRETOMA, STRP’s research partner at Cocos Island, operates four different volunteer projects on the beaches of Costa Rica.
Take this rare chance to combine eco-tourism, with eco-activism, as you
participate in on-the-beach conservation work with nesting turtles and
November 28, 2011, Copyright Jim Toomey. Image used courtesy of the artist and may not be reproduced without permission.
Day 10 Update: Today is almost Fillmore’s last day at Cocos Island! When Fillmore departs,
he will take his satellite transmitter with him. Fillmore will join other turtles such as Nonie, Back Country, and Yuri,
who have helped our researchers better understand sea turtle migration
patterns in the ocean.
But you can help make sure that the Sea Turtle Restoration Project
can keep up our research and protect all the habitat these sea turtles
need to survive! Buy a raffle ticket
for a 1-in-200 chance to visit Cocos Island National Park as a SCUBA
dive research assistant on our next expedition! Or, help a child in your life become a Turtle Champion by raising
support for sea turtles like Fillmore. Anyone who raises $5,000 for a
sea turtle satellite transmitter wins the rare privilege and honor of
naming a turtle on our next research expedition!
November 29, 2011, Copyright Jim Toomey. Image used courtesy of the artist and may not be reproduced without permission.
Day 11 Update: Fillmore concludes his tropical adventure today--he is swimming back
past Manuelita Garden out into the Pacific--but not without making a big
difference for the other sea turtles of the world! Fillmore's trip to Cocos Island
has raised awareness with HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of people around the
world about the great beauty of sea turtles--and also about the tragic
plight they face.
But you can help. The emails you have received over the past two weeks
provide a handbook on steps that "citizen activists" can take to
protect--and eventually restore--sea turtle populations in all of the
world's oceans. One of the most powerful things you can do is become a member
of the Sea Turtle Restoration Project. Please join us today!
November 30, 2011, Fillmore and Sherman return from Cocos Island. Copyright Jim Toomey. Image used courtesy of the artist and may not be reproduced without permission.
This map below shows the actual movements of the green sea turtle named Fillmore that carries a satellite transmitting tag as part of conservation research led by the Sea Turtle Restoration Project at Cocos Island National Park.