Friday, December 19, 2008

Happy Anniversary Carol!!

December 20th is the one year anniversary of Carol receiving her satellite-relayed GPS tag which may not sound like a lot but in terms of satellite tracking this is a pretty impressive achievement!
Carol leaves the nesting beach on December 20th 2007. Photo MCSS

Carol was tagged on one of the prime nesting beaches on the South of Mahe in a programme organised and implemented by MCSS in association with the Ministry of Environment and the Wildlife Clubs of Seychelles and funded by Barclays Bank Seychelles (See Post 2). This innovative programme was aimed at increasing public awareness of Seychelles turtles through a programme that integrated hi-tec turtle research into the activities of the schools and Wildlife Clubs as well as through several competitions including an art contest and a science-project contest. It was through one of these awareness competitions that Carol named by Jessica Marengo, the winner of the ‘name-the-turtle competition.

The Fast-Loc GPS tag fitted to Carol has now lasted for 12 months. Photo Elke Talma

Since being tagged Carol has been tracked on-line through the facilities of and the track information was shared with teachers at local schools via the Wildlife Clubs who developed a number of science projects based on her track (See Post 13). The pupils and research staff watched in surprise as Carol moved away from Seychelles at the end of her nesting season and migrated away towards North West Madagascar arriving at her apparent chosen feeding ground on April 27th where she has remained, apparently quite contentedly, to this day (see the side bar for the latest tracking maps).

Carol's migration track to her foraging grounds off Mitsio Island; map courtesy

During her migration Carol has continued to surprise the research team with her impressive diving abilities with numerous dives made to depths of over 100 metres, not bad for an air-breathing turtle!

Today on her Anniversary Carol is still foraging off the Mitsio islands with her satellite tag sending us daily messages of where she is and what activities she has been up to. How long her tag’s batteries will last is now a sensitive question; originally the calculations indicated about three months as the fast-loc GPS is fairly power hungry, but having now achieved 12 months we can only keep our fingers crossed!

So a big thank you to all those involved in this tagging programme and our Best Wishes to Carol for the coming year!!

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