Tag Archives: flipper tag

More Margaret…and more and more turtles

Margaret (in front) and (from left to right) Sheldon Murray, Kevin Muhammad, Trishara Hernandez, Latresa Mayers and Ria Steward-- our friends in Trinidad from the Grand Rivière Nature Tour Guide Association and Stakeholders Against Destruction. Photo courtesy of Kevin Muhammad.

Margaret (in front) and (from left to right) Sheldon Murray, Kevin Muhammad, Trishara Hernandez, Latresa Mayers and Ria Steward– our friends in Trinidad from the Grande Rivière Nature Tour Guide Association and Stakeholders Against Destruction. Photo courtesy of Kevin Muhammad.

Mike James received an email from our friends at Grande Rivière with the subject line: “Your baby.”

“I was on the beach last night facilitating a tag training session with Toco folks and look who I ran into,” wrote Kevin Muhammad.

Margaret!

She was back nesting again (likely for the third time by this point) and she looked terrific. This is a photo of the team that found her along with Margaret herself.

It’s been an exciting few weeks at the beaches in Trinidad. On Matura beach, the Nature Seekers found seven Canadian turtles nesting! They could tell they were “our” turtles by reading their flipper tags. Flipper tags are small metal tags that sea turtle researchers attach to turtles’ flippers as a way of identifying the animals. The tags have a code made up of numbers and letters on one side (ours start with CAN for “Canada”) and the research group’s mailing address on the other.

Here’s what we know about the leatherbacks they found:

  1. We caught one of them last August just a few hours before we caught and satellite-tagged Margaret! When we caught this turtle we didn’t know she was from Trinidad. (When we caught Margaret, she had flipper tags that had been applied in Trinidad, so we knew she was a Trinidad nester.)
  1. We flipper tagged one of the leatherbacks in 2011.
  1. Two of the turtles were previously satellite tagged. One of them in 2005 and the other in 2012.

We are particularly excited to hear news of the turtle from 2012. She had been entangled in fishing gear when we found her. We cleared her of the gear before we put the tag on her and were interested to watch how she managed after the entanglement. We are thrilled to hear that she is healthy and nesting now!

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Mystery turtles and turtles on TV

It’s official. Jacquelyn’s transmitter has stopped sending signals altogether. We had no information on her nesting origins when we tagged her. She was our mystery turtle. And so she remains.

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But, in addition to her transmitter, Jacquelyn has a microchip in her shoulder muscle (called a “PIT”) and small metal tags on her rear flippers that identify her as a Canadian turtle. So when she nests someday, if we’re lucky, our research partners in the south will find her.

In our experience, it’s best to be an optimist if you are going to do environmental work. So we’re betting on luck helping us out with this one.

Miss Margaret is still going strong, swimming close to Barbados now as you can see.

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She has a history of nesting in Trinidad, so we’re curious to see how long it is before she hauls up on a beach. We don’t expect this to happen for at least another month or two.

In the meantime, Margaret is going to be on television at the end of January!

We’re really excited about a documentary film about our leatherback work airing on CBC’s The Nature of Things on January 30 (at 7 p.m.). The film was made by award-winning directors Teresa MacInnes and Kent Nason and produced by Tell Tale Productions. You can check out the “Behind the Scenes” trailer here.

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