From the tracking data, we will determine the sea turtle’s migration route, foraging grounds, and thus its Range State nations. We will increase our database of migration and foraging grounds for Bonaire sea turtles. We will produce regular tracking information updates for the general public, on our website, and for Pifworld users that will include general information about sea turtle biology and conservation needs and threats. We expect to see continued interest and involvement from the local community in sea turtle conservation projects.
Three species of sea turtles are regularly found in the waters of Bonaire. They are: the hawksbill, the green, and the loggerhead. The hawksbill is classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a “critically endangered” species throughout its global range. The green and loggerhead are classified as “endangered”.
Throughout their life cycle, sea turtles live in a variety of habitats often encompassing several different nations (Range States). Adult turtles typically make long-range migrations between breeding and foraging grounds, presenting great challenges to conservation efforts concerning these animals. Understanding the extent of breeding turtle migration allows for more targeted conservation approaches on the identified foraging grounds and migratory pathways.
Since the launch of its sea turtle tracking program in 2003, Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire (STCB) has seen the existence of huge public interest in the plight of sea turtles and their migration voyages. By showcasing the turtles’ migratory behaviour and simultaneously educating the public about the plight of sea turtles, we have been able to build local capacity for performing sea turtle conservation projects.
To add to our knowledge of migratory patterns of Bonaire’s sea turtle population; to enhance local and international interest in, and knowledge of, sea turtle biology and conservation needs and threats; to enhance local involvement, particularly with school-aged children in conservation activities; and to identify Range State nations and develop strategies for partnering to enhance conservation efforts.
Deployment of satellite transmitter as well as regular mapping of turtles locations and generation of Satellite Tracking Updates
We might not locate a breeding turtle for placement of the transmitter. Sometimes weather, staff and/or equipment availability have made it difficult to locate a turtle for a transmitter. This could happen over the nesting season, though we have had success placing transmitters for 6 years.
The transmitter could malfunction after it is deployed. We have the experience of having deployed 15 transmitters to date. Only 1 malfunctioned immediately. In that case we had a spare to use and were able to put a transmitter on another turtle. In this case, we could share the information gathered from the 2nd turtle that we expect to track in 2009.
The transmitter could stop transmitting during the migration. This has happened late in the migration only 3 times, and we were able to provide sufficient updates and sense of migration direction to call it still a successful project.
The staff or volunteer designated to produce reports could become unavailable. We have sufficient staff and volunteers that we have cross trained that we can pass the work on to someone else.
Check out this 2 minute video on how we found piffy on the beach and tracked her. Good stuff thanks to all the players that contributed to this project.
In the last five days our female hawksbill Piffie has maintained a rate of 1.8 km per hour. She shifted direction, heading toward the north-east and is now very close to Puerto Rico in an area called Caja de Muertos.
Since our last report she has covered a distance of approximately 226 km. Tropical storm Tomas passed over her but did not interrupt or change her traveling pattern. Piffie's 2010 satellite-tracked journey is sponsored by members of the online charity platform Pifworld.
As you can see, our female hawksbill Piffie continues north at a steady pace of 1.16 km per hour. She swam 28 km in the last 24 hours and is now 279 km from Bonaire.
Piffie, who was near Curacao several days ago, turned and swam back towards Bonaire before changing her direction once again and swimming toward the north. She is now approximately 57.82 miles from Bonaire.
Piffie's 2010 satellite-tracked journey is sponsored by members of the online charity platform Pifworld.
Piffie's signals were unclear for the last three days. During nesting intervals, which is the period of time between each nest, sea turtles spend most of their time resting on the bottom of the sea near the nesting site (for hawksbill turtles, this interval is about 14 days). Satellite signals received during these periods tend to be unclear. Because the turtles are in a resting state, they don't need to breathe as often, which means they spend less time at the surface. Satellites capture transmitter signals only when the devices on the turtles' backs make contact with the air. If a turtle's surface time is short, the satellites may not be... read more
Piffie’s transmitter was placed on the 6th of October and today, five days later, the signals show that she is just off Klein Bonaire, possibly getting ready to lay her next nest.
This wonderful female hawksbill turtle made it possible to deploy the final transmitter of this year: now we can follow three different females on their special journey back home..
Hawksbill Piffie is the third turtle to be tracked in Bonaire’s 2010 nesting season.
A hawksbill turtle nesting on Klein Bonaire was fitted with a satellite transmitter Wednesday night by a team from Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire (STCB). This is the 20th turtle to be tracked since we started the tracking program in 2003.
Based on the pattern of turtle nesting activity observed on Klein Bonaire during the last few weeks, STCB staff predicted the possible return of this hawksbill turtle to the beach for Wednesday night.
A field team consisting of STCB’s staff and volunteers set out at night to monitor the beach on Klein... read more
Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire (STCB) deployed the first satellite transmitter for 2010 on a female hawksbill on Klein Bonaire last Friday 3rd of September, when she came ashore to lay her eggs.
Sea turtles live in the water all their lives and only adult females come to shore to lay their eggs. They travel sometimes thousands of kilometers to reach their breeding homes. Based on tagging studies is known that sea turtles are loyal to their nesting sites which in most cases are the places where they hatched. After reaching their reproductive size they breed at intervals of two to three years depending on the species and food availability... read more
The placing of the tracking device will take place soon.
However, before we get started, there is one important matter which must be taken care of: we need you to help us name your turtle!
We want to invite all you STCB supporters out there to nominate the name of your turtle. Will it be 'Jackie the turtle' or perhaps 'Alice the turtle'?
To nominate a name, all you have to do is leave a comment below. Let the name bidding begin!
In January, we reached our budget here on Pifworld. Thank you to all Players who supported us and to the Vodafone Players in particular. We are very excited we will be able to track another Sea Turtle in Bonaire.
We will keep you updated on the tracking of your very own turtle. Stay tuned to see video updates, pictures and to know exactly what your turtle is up to!
Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire