Rescue, Rehab, Release is our main goal. But what happens after our sea turtles get released?
All of our sea turtles get tagged when released; a flipper tag on the backside of each front flipper and a PIT tag in their neck/shoulder area. These tags allow us to recognize the turtle if found again. However these are passive tags. And while helpful, we do not see many of our turtles again. So further information is lacking in most cases.
In exciting news, in June we received notice that one of our tagged turtles had been spotted nesting in North Carolina. The exciting part is that she had been part of a Fibropapilloma Transmission Study here in the early 1990’s. She weighed 5.7 pounds in 1993 and was released in May 1995 with a shell length of 17.5 inches. She is now a lot bigger. Because she was found nesting, they were not able to get measurements or a current weight. But estimation is at least 200 lbs!
One of our more recent turtles to get released, Maisy, was also fitted with a satellite tag. This tag allows us to track her movements. Her tag is part of Tour de Turtles, a “race” following turtles throughout Florida, Mexico, and the Caribbean. We have participated in this Sea Turtle Conservancy program the last few years, giving us a chance to follow the sea turtles’ path for research in a fun and educational way!
You can follow Maisy’s journey at tourdeturtles.org. Her part of the “race” does not start until August 1st, but her tag is active now and just not contributing to the race length. As more turtles get tagged between now and August, you can follow their tracks as well. Currently the leatherback race is ongoing, with Freckles in the lead!
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