Starting on Christmas, yesterday, two sea turtles that are being tracked by scientists as they swim around the world’s oceans can also be tracked online by common, interested folks.
The turtles, named Noelle and Darwinia, are both females and are leatherback turtles that nest in Gabon in Western Central Africa. As the University of Exeter states, “The research team has fitted each turtle with a small satellite tracking device, which enables the scientists to monitor their precise movements and observe where and how deep they dive.”
So far, the turtles have swum a combined 800 miles (since the tracking started on December 7th).
The turtles’ journeys can be viewed at a sea turtle satellite tracking website.
The turtles are important because, as the University of Exeter reports, “Leatherbacks are of profound conservation concern around the world after populations in the Indo-Pacific crashed by more than 90 percent in the 1980s and 1990s. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists leatherback turtles as critically endangered globally, but detailed population assessments in much of the Atlantic, especially Africa, are lacking.”
Researchers from the University of Exeter, the Government of Gabon and a network of NGO’s in country, including the Wildlife Conservation Society and Seaturtle.org, are hoping to find out more about where these turtles go through this project so that they can protect important ocean areas from harmful fishing, oil exploitation and pollution activities.
Image Credit: Matthew Witt via seaturtle.org under a Creative Commons license