We had a few new girls this week. Kathmandu is one of our new turtles and was one of the first leatherbacks to nest in Jupiter this season. We now have two leatherback nests in Jupiter, just south of the inlet. Kathmandu was larger than average, measuring 161.4 cm in shell length. May was another new leatherback on our beaches and she measured 154.2 cm in shell length.
Kathmandu while she was laying her clutch of eggs. Photo credit: Christina Coppenrath.
LMC research technician Kim Rigano and intern Grace Dodillet prepare their sample collection supplies behind May while she laid her clutch of eggs. Photo credit: Kate Fraser.
We also had our first repeat nester this week. Aussie nested on April 6 and April 16. Leatherbacks typically nest every 8-10 days so she was right on schedule. Interestingly she is missing a part of her right flipper, possibly from a shark bite (the wound is old and healed).
Aussie while she laid her clutch of eggs. The missing part of her right flipper is visible in this photo. Photo credit: Kate Fraser.
Bunny was an exciting remigrant who was first tagged on Easter in 2004! She was last encountered in Juno Beach in 2016. Bunny was very vocal while she was crawling out of the water. Once we approached her we could see why! She is a fat, healthy looking turtle. Her head and neck were huge! She was the only turtle of the night, and waited until 3 am to crawl out of the water.
Bunny being measured by Dr. Justin Perrault while she laid her clutch of eggs. Photo credit: Tina Bruaset.
Our last bit of news is that we had our first two loggerhead nests of the season last night! Our night crew encountered both of the nesting females and were able to snap this photo.
First loggerhead of the season for LMC. Photo credit: Dr. Justin Perrault.
Disclaimer: All marine turtle images taken in Florida were obtained with the approval of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) under conditions not harmful to this or other turtles. Images were acquired while conducting authorized research activities pursuant to FWC MTP-18-205.