Even though we encountered just one leatherback on last night’s survey, the night was still BANANAS! Why was it bananas, you ask? Well, the turtle we encountered is named Chiquita! Chiquita was first tagged by LMC in 2009 and was seen nesting four times in that season. She was spotted crawling out of the ocean on north Juno Beach last night just before 2 am. Chiquita is on the small side for a leatherback; she was just about 144 cm in length this year. While she did grow a bit from 2009, she is still smaller than other turtles we have seen nesting from previous years.
Our researchers hosted one of our good friends, Dr. Thane Wibbels from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, last night. Dr. Wibbels brought some of his students from his sea turtle course along with him and they were very excited to see a nesting leatherback. We hope that our work inspires some of them in their budding science careers!
Stay tuned for more updates from our crew!