Friday, September 9, 2011

The Mystery of Betty May Be Revealed

In December 2009, MCSS deployed two satellite tags on nesting turtles in the South of Mahé; the turtles were named Betty and Wilna after the two volunteers from WCS who assisted us in the tagging operation.

Betty heading back out to sea with her new satellite tag in December 2009

Wilna headed North East and found her foraging ground some 100km from Mahé, while after only two weeks Betty, went missing in action!

We were still in contact with Betty’s tag for several weeks, but the signal was too weak to get a good fix on her position and we suspected that Betty has been killed by poachers, with her carapace dumped in the bushes (hence the weak signal) somewhere in the South of Mahé.

On the 7th of September staff from the Department of the Environment found a badly damaged Mk 10 AF tag among the rocks at Anse Bazarca. They brought the tag to MCSS and we have been able to confirm the tag number as being Betty’s tag…

Betty's tag recovered in September 2011, a lot the worse for wear...

While one end of the tag has been badly damaged, probably by the blows of a machete, the circuit board and memory of the tag appear to be intact and so we may yet find out what Betty was doing in her last few weeks of life before succumbing to one of South Mahe’s turtle poachers….

The tag was badly damaged but the memory chips seem to be intact....

Watch this space for further updates!

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