Monday, April 6, 2009

469+ days and still transmitting!

Carol, the satellite tagged turtle released by MCSS on 20th December 2007, is still transmitting data to MCSS via the Argos Satellite system. It has been over 15 months now since Carol was fitted with an MKF10 satellite tag. The tag’s battery life was expended to end after about 3 months, but researchers at MCSS who have been closely following Carol’s progress have been pleasantly surprised by the tag’s long life.

Previously, the longest recorded satellite track in Seychelles was from 3 turtles tagged in 1999 in the Cousin Nature Reserve, which according to Dr Jeanne Mortimer, transmitted data for over 13.5 months.

Satellite tracks from five nesting Hawksbill turtles tagged on Cousin Island, figure from Mortimer & Balzas, 2000

The Cousin turtles remained on the Seychelles plateau and it was assumed that turtles nesting in Seychelles remained on the Seychelles plateau between nesting seasons. Carol disproved this theory, by swimming some 2612km to Nosy bay in Madagascar, where she has remained for the past 7 months.

Carol’s journey from Seychelles to Madagascar, vie Coetivy island, courtesy

Hopefully, she will be making her way back to Seychelles soon to nest during the 2009-10 Season. With any luck, the tag will continue to transmit, allowing us to track her journey to her birth place.

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