At the end of the 2018 leatherback season, our colleagues at the New England Aquarium and ATMAR (Amigos de las Tortugas Marinas – Maunabo, Puerto Rico), attached special GPS tags to nesting leatherbacks in Puerto Rico so they could follow the turtle migrations once the nesting season was over. One of those turtles was Enid Fern, who nested in St. Croix three times and then popped over to Puerto Rico for her last nest. Since then we have been able to follow her travels around the North Atlantic Ocean. Just look at the places she’s been!
The other turtle tagged that week was ExploraDora. The two turtles followed a similar path for several months, but have now taken different tracks. Enid Fern is near the mid-Atlantic ridge in the absolute middle of the ocean, while ExploraDora looks like she is heading for the Cape Verde Islands. We don’t expect either of these turtles back this season – they need some time to regain energy stores – but we hope to be able to track them for as long as their battery packs last. They will be eating as many jellies as they can and enjoying the warm waters.
This year, we hope to deploy several GPS tags on nesting females, and we will update about those turtles as we move through the season! Please follow our Facebook page for regular updates!
The St. Croix Leatherback Project is supported by the Sea Turtle Census Initiative, which is sponsored by The Ocean Foundation, which is a 501(c)(3) organization, based in Washington, D.C., but working globally to protect our oceans.