So many of us love and remember the original Loren Eiseley story about the man throwing starfish back into the ocean to save them from dying in the hot sun. Well today, we at The Great Animal Rescue Chase have a special treat for you — a real-life remake of that story, only this time to save a Horseshoe Crab. Enjoy!
Written by Roberta Reynolds
On a very nice Sunday morning in May, my husband Dave Zamba and I were walking a Connecticut beach. Locals consider this beach “abandoned” since it is connected to what was a summer community, but has since been demolished. Very few visit here, particularly in New England’s springtime.We noticed a few Horseshoe Crab carcasses as we walked, which is normal; all of them had been consumed from underneath.
We saw one, above the high tide mark, flipped over on its back, completely intact but limp. Dave picked it up, both of us sad that the poor thing had probably died slowly due to exposure. He put it back on the beach, right side up and while we mentioned we should put it in the water so it didn’t go to waste and could feed another creature — it moved! Then we noticed the tag: a round, white, plastic circle held onto the carapace with a grommet. But this was overshadowed by the fact that we needed to get it back in the water ASAP.
My husband placed it at the water’s edge and we stood back. The poor thing was so exhausted it had trouble moving so he picked it up again and waited for a wave (ocean was calm, these weren’t breakers by any means) to take it back out. Well, again, it was so exhausted, it couldn’t get a hold of the ground and started to be tossed, upside down, even in the gentle waves. We both knew we couldn’t leave it like this, but now we couldn’t reach it. Before I could untie one shoe, my husband had both shoes and socks off and was in the water. This was May in New England. I have no idea what the water temperature was, though it was not swimming weather, but that didn’t impede my husband. He was in, up above his knees, gently maneuvering the crab onto the ocean floor so it could get a grip and walk away. This took a bit of time since the poor crab had been exposed for an unknown amount of time, but eventually, it got its bearing and went on its way.
As Dave started to walk out of the water, he noticed two conjoined Horseshoe Crabs, cruising along the water’s edge, creating the next generation of crabs.We completely forgot to get the information on the rescued crab’s tag to call it in as a “sighting” but, at the moment, the crab’s life was much more important. We hope it lives to help create the next generation of crabs, too.
The Original Starfish Story
“While wandering a deserted beach at dawn, stagnant in my work, I saw a man in the distance bending and throwing as he walked the endless stretch toward me. As he came near, I could see that he was throwing starfish, abandoned on the sand by the tide, back into the sea. When he was close enough I asked him why he was working so hard at this strange task. He said that the sun would dry the starfish and they would die. I said to him that I thought he was foolish. There were thousands of starfish on miles and miles of beach. One man alone could never make a difference. He smiled as he picked up the next starfish. Hurling it far into the sea he said, “It makes a difference for this one.” I abandoned my writing and spent the morning throwing starfish.” ― Loren Eiseley
Because Each of Us Has a Hero Inside
The Great Animal Rescue Chase was built upon the starfish principle. We believe that every life matters and no act of kindness is ever too small. Our international rescue tournament is for everyday heroes like Roberta and Dave. We invite all of you to take part by enjoying our ‘good news’ stories or sharing one of your own. And for those of you with an appetite for more, please take a peak at our Harmony Fund charity, which supports a very large network of small but truly mighty animal rescue squads all over the world.