Tuesday was World Turtle Day and we celebrated at midnight with our favorite kind of turtle, a leatherback sea turtle!. It was our first three-peat nester, Gisli. She came up near low tide and had a long crawl up the beach. She took her time nesting, but to our delight she was extra vocal from all the hard work. Leatherbacks can lay up to eight nests in a season, so we may see Gisli again!
Left: Whitney as she nested. Right: Whitney turning to make an orientation circle before returning to the ocean.
Earlier this week we added another leatherback to our database: Whitney. Whitney was about average size at 153cm long, just over five feet. She was a quick nester. We had to work quickly to collect our from her as she finished nesting. We were a little confused by her new flipper tags but lack of a PIT tag, but it turned out she had pulled a runner on our colleagues to the north, and returned to the ocean before they could PIT tag her. Because flipper tags frequently fall off, sea turtle researchers use PIT tags as a long-term tagging solution to identify individual turtles. It’s the same tag that is used to microchip your dog or cat at the vet’s office. PIT tags are essential in sea turtle research because of the migratory nature of the turtles; researchers worldwide can quickly scan and identify a tagged animal by this one tag.
Otherwise it’s been a quiet week for us, but we’ll keep patrolling to see which of our leatherbacks will come back next!