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First loggerhead turtle to be attached with a satellite tag at Gnaraloo - Photo by Peter Koch

Time to satellite tag Gnaraloo’s loggerhead turtles!

Last night marked a milestone for the Gnaraloo Turtle Conservation Program, with Aub Strydom and two of our scientific interns, Nick and Alistair, having successfully attached the first satellite tag onto one of Gnaraloo’s nesting loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta)!

The GTCP is working in collaboration with Aub to deploy satellite tags onto 10 of Gnaraloo’s nesting loggerhead turtles over the next week. This will be the first time that we look into the movements of Gnaraloo’s nesting turtles during and after the nesting period. By doing this, we will begin to understand their migratory patterns, as well as identify important feeding areas and inter-nesting habitats (the area adjacent to the beach where the turtle goes to develop her eggs).

Furthermore, we may possibly be able to improve our estimates of the number of nesting turtles at Gnaraloo by gaining insight into how frequently females come ashore to nest in a season. The information we obtain from this research will be a significant step in the long-term conservation of the southeast Indian Ocean loggerhead population, which we currently know very little about.

Satellite tagging gear
Aub Strydom showing the GTCP field team the satellite tagging gear

Our first tagged turtle – Normalex, a feisty turtle according to Aub, was tagged at 4.40 am this morning. So far, she appears to like hanging quite close to the nesting beach (as shown in the map below)! You can follow her movements by downloading our free app Turtle Tracker. We will continue to update on our tagging attempts over the next week, so make sure to stay tuned!

Melanie Do (GTCP Intern 2015/16)

Turtle tracker
Map of Normalex’s movement since 4.40 am this morning (provided by Aub Strydom)
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