Bert Alm

My conservation commitments go beyond just birding. I am the Treasurer for Hundred Acre Hollows, Inc. in Suntree/Viera, FL area, whose mission is to Protect the Wildlife, Restore the Habitat, and Engage the Public at our 114 acre property. My wife and I also volunteer at the Brevard Zoo in the Sea Turtle Healing Center helping with the care, feeding and rehab of sick and injured sea turtles.

When I retired I bought a brand new 2016 Toyota Highlander because I needed something big enough to haul up to 250 lb. Sea Turtles in the back with the seats down, under FWC permit of course (Please be aware that marine turtles are protected under the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973 and Florida’s Marine Turtle Protection Act {379.2431, Florida Statutes}. Sea turtles may be transferred by the permittee to a facility for holding in accordance with their authorization). One of those turtles was so big and strong that we had a vet intern in the back to keep him from climbing in the front seat – that was a true rodeo. One time I had to pick up two loggerheads we affectionately called Ragged Ann and Raggedy Andy. They were each around 80 lbs. We decided to put Ann in the front of the back of the SUV and Andy in the far back because we all know boys are more rambunctious than girls (BTW you can’t tell if a Sea Turtle is male or female at this size yet without blood tests or internal checks). Sure enough Andy in the way back just laid there quietly while Ann was crawling all over the place and out of her kiddy pool. Did I mention that I picked them up near Ft. Pierce Inlet and had to drive with them for an hour plus, including a few stops to get Ann back in her pool. We use these pools to prevent them from hurting themselves in transit (and from damaging the car with their flipper nails or peeing on the interior!!) but Ann refused to be contained.

I picked up Raggedy Ann and Andy on my way back from Palm Beach after taking nearly 200 post hatchling Sea Turtles (washbacks from Hurricane Irma) to Palm Beach area to be taken by boat out to the Sargassum Sea. One of those babies was leucistic and so darn cute. The boat taking them out was also taking about a half dozen Scientists and Ph.D. candidates out for deep diving to do experiments, studies and collecting of all kinds of marine creatures and such. When they saw all of those post hatchling sea turtles they were like a bunch of kindergarteners with puppies. I had to remind them they couldn’t take any of them home (especially the leucistic one which had very little probably of surviving with the inability to be camouflaged). I believe they released them all appropriately.

I don’t think any Sea Turtle ever peed on my interior (BTW, I sit in the front seat with A/C on all of the time); maybe I should get my car deep clean detailed, just in case.