19 September 2009 • 11:39 am

Tortoise Stories Everywhere!

Tortoise rescuer John Formby holds Freeway the tortoise Saturday, September 19 in Worthing, England. (photo by Billy Elliott)

Tortoise rescuer John Formby holds Freeway the tortoise Saturday, September 19 in Worthing, England. (photo by Billy Elliott)

From colleague and occasional Tenacious Blog contributor Heather Stagl comes a link today to a story out of London, where a motorist rescued a Hermann’s tortoise while it was crossing five lanes of the M25, the loop road around London.

Although it is likely that “Freeway” the tortoise, as he is now known, is someone’s pet, (since he has an embedded microchip), it is not yet known where he came from (since the chip is blank). Motorist John Formby spotted what he originally thought was a rock on the road, but when he saw it was moving, pulled off to effect the heroic rescue. Despite the fact that cars had been passing right over it, Freeway was unfazed. According to Formby, “it seemed very determined just to get where it was going.”Freeway is now living comfortably at an animal rescue center in Worthing, along England’s south coast, while staff try to find his owner.

Branding as the Tenacious Tortoise seems to be working. According to Heather, “I see tortoise stories everywhere now.”

Do you see tortoise stories everywhere? Please send links to

14 September 2009 • 7:00 am

At Loggerheads

Loggerhead turtle, about one meter long

Loggerhead turtle, about one meter long

I don’t remember exactly when, how, or even why I first became enamored with turtles and tortoises. It’s probably been at least 25 years since I bought my first carved wooden turtle, and my collection of small handmade keepsake turtles grows by one or two every time my wife and I travel together. I’ve probably got over 50 of them now. But it’s less than an obsession for me, and I don’t have any live turtles as pets.

A video on Facebook caught my eye a couple of weeks ago. Shot at night in infrared light on Big Pine Key near our second home in Key West, Florida, it shows a “boil” – the nearly all-at-once hatching of baby loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) and their immediate and frantic scramble to the sea. The first few minutes after hatching are especially perilous for the little guys (who would easily fit in the palm of your hand) – they rely on star- and moon-light glinting off the ocean’s edge to find their way to the water before seabirds and other predators pick off these tasty morsels. Human development has threatened the loggerhead in multiple ways, including the presence of artificial light at nesting areas causing the hatchlings to lose their way to the ocean, along with entanglement in fishing lines and nets.


29 May 2009 • 11:35 am

Military Ship Sinks off Florida Coast

Today’s offering is a departure from the sometimes dry prose of change and strategy offered here. A story that began over sixty years ago culminated on Wednesday in the very wet Atlantic Ocean about six miles off of Key West, Florida. A story of remarkable tenacity.


14 May 2009 • 12:04 pm

The Tenacity of the Tortoise

Leaders seeking performance improvement are often unrealistic about the capacity for change in their organization. Each change initiative is undertaken with urgency. Tangible results are elusive. Patience runs thin. Good intentions are thwarted by impatience.

Members of their organization know the tune, and are tired of the dance. Why change, when last year’s initiatives have been abandoned? Apathy and cynicism are widespread. Leaders are seen as lacking the determination and the patience to stay with a good program long enough to see results.