|Suzie back home in TCI waters|
|Friday, 26 February 2010 10:06|
Tagged green turtle reveals far-ranging pattern of migration
Suzie, the adult female green turtle fitted with a satellite transmitter tag, arrived back in the TCIs’ coastal waters on Sunday after an amazing 6,000 kilometre migration around the eastern Caribbean.
The now-famous sea turtle was fitted with a satellite tag by the Turks and Caicos Islands Turtle Project after she was procured from a fisher who landed her for the pot on the island of South Caicos at the end of June.
Suzie swam straight to the British Virgin Islands and Anguilla immediately after leaving the TCI on Sept. 1. She then traveled to Barbuda, where she is believed to have nested in Low Bay on the night of Oct. 18.
Then it was on to Martinique, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas. Her last port of call was nearby Great Inagua in the Bahamas before arriving back in TCI waters Sunday, Jan. 23., off Northwest Point in Providenciales.
Suzie is now making her way along the TCIs’ northern coast back to her feeding grounds off East Caicos.
“Suzie’s journey has really surprised us,” said Amdeep Sanghera, Marine Conservation Society (MCS) Project Officer. “They usually lay several clutches of eggs during the nesting season, making these epic journeys worthwhile, but Suzie’s tracking data suggests she swam 6,000 kilometres around the Caribbean to lay just one clutch of eggs. It’s incredible!”
“Her journey passed through the territorial waters of eight different countries, and has shown us that these countries each have a responsibility for the conservation of their shared turtle resources.”
Suzie was the first of five turtles to get satallite tags in the TCI. The MCS project is a collaborative initiative between the Department of Environment and Coastal Resources (DECR) and the School for Field Studies (SFS) in the TCI, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and the University of Exeter in the U.K.
The team is carrying out research into the TCIs’ turtle populations and turtle fishery. With the satellite tagging they aim to provide insights into the range of the adult green and hawksbill turtles found in the TCIs’ waters.
“Suzie has become a local celebrity in TCI, especially here in South Caicos where she was originally landed and tagged,“ said Tommy Philips, DECR conservation officer. “For the last few months we have displayed her latest tracking maps in public places around South Caicos and everyone keeps asking ‘Where Suzie at?!’ Seasoned turtle fishers have been amazed to learn that their turtles can travel so far, and some of them have started to think differently about the management of their fishery.’”
The project team hopes to maintain this interest through four adult hawksbill turtles they have also satellite tagged with support from the People’s Trust for Endangered Species and the British Chelonia Group. One of these turtles, an adult female hawksbill named Jewel, laid her fifth clutch of eggs and may be about to embark on her own migration from TCI.
The turtles can be tracked online at www.seaturtle.org/tracking/?project_id=398.
The DECR requests anyone encountering any turtles fitted with satellite transmitters in TCIs’ waters to leave them alone and report their encounter to Project Officer Amdeep Sanghera at 649-332-8325.
|Last Updated on Saturday, 06 March 2010 17:45|
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