Dry Tortugas National Park, an underwater paradise
Dry Tortugas, a park situated 70 miles west of Key West in the Gulf of Mexico, is more than a whopping 99% underwater.
As an underwater area, maintenance and safety are actually more complicated than they are in parks situated on land because predator and weather damage are not always within the control of the park rangers.
in a bid to preserve its natural resources, almost half of Dry Tortugas National Park was designated as a research area almost 10 years ago.
Because of the barrier reef, sea turtles, nurse sharks, and snapper-grouper spawn in the area. One of the most well successful research studies carried out in Dry Tortugas was based on the population of nurse sharks.
The nurse shark, unlike other species, which tend to be migratory, nurse sharks forage, mate and live around the islands.
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There are closed off areas maintains by rangers to protect the mating sharks and their newborns, allowing scientists study their behaviour and population.
The park rangers also inform visitors of the research work going on at the park, educating them on potential threats.
Dry Tortugas is one of the most remote US National Parks, and can only be reached via seaplane or boat. The park rangers who are resident there use satellite phones to communicate with the rest of the world.
Different species of birds show up in the park and scientists are currently studying some migratory birds to find out where they go after leaving Dry Tortugas.
Tourists can partake in birdwatching, snorkeling, scuba diving, camping, kayaking and fishing while on the island.
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