Another one of our leatherbacks is closing in on a nesting beach! Red Rockette is just off the coast of the Panama—Colombia border. She does not have a recorded nesting history, so it is too early to call where she will end up. There are five beaches in contention right now: Armila in Panama; and Acandí, Capitancito, Playeta, and Playona in Colombia.
We have had a Canadian turtle found at Playona in Colombia before with the help of local people working there from Grupo GILA. That turtle was wearing a satellite transmitter, which they got back for us! We’ve got our fingers crossed that the same thing will happen with Red Rockette.
These beaches are in remote areas of these countries, some accessible just by boat and others without easy access to Internet or phones. We want to make sure that the local environmental groups and local community members know to look for our leatherback on the beach.
Again, the international sea turtle community is swinging into gear: scientists, environmental groups, government biologists, and local people in areas near the nesting beaches are all helping out. I can’t say enough good things about how helpful sea turtle people are.
At this point we don’t know when or where specifically Red Rockette will nest. “We don’t have a good understanding of pre-nesting behaviour,” explains Canadian sea turtle expert, Dr. Mike James. “Right now Red Rockette is swimming quickly and purposefully. She may slow down soon and stop just off her beach. But, it’s very early in the nesting season still. It could be a few weeks before she begins nesting…or it could be much sooner.”