Tag Archives: Lily Rose

Riley and Lily Rose…and an update on our current turtle gang

Riley and Lily Rose have both been seen nesting in French Guiana! We’ve just heard from our friend Antoine Baglan, who manages the database for Association KWATA in Cayenne, French Guiana. (Antoine is also, incidentally, an amazing nature photographer.)

You know, of course, the story of Lily Rose, and why she is so special to us.

But do you remember Riley? Riley used to keep us up at night. She was one of the first Canadian leatherbacks that we tracked right into Cape Cod Bay, where she navigated the maze of fishing gear for many days. I remember Scott Landry, the director of Marine Animal Entanglement Response at the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies in Massachusetts, reviewing one of the daily Riley updates we sent and saying, “Wow. This just gets worse.”

But she thankfully got out and continued to swim down the coast of the United States. Riley was kind of like Beverly. We had tagged her as part of the Great Canadian Turtle Race, and she behaved differently from the rest of the turtles we were following that year. You can see her track below in red.

20 November 2012

And then after almost seven months of tracking, Riley’s tag stopped.

So we are thrilled to hear about her and to know that she is safe and nesting—and we are also excited to learn where she is from, which we didn’t know when we tagged her!

Below is an updated map on the turtles we’re following now. Beverly continues to entertain us with her track, looping around and down again now.


Look how far Sharon has gone! I love seeing her zip past all of those islands. You can see this in more detail in this map:


But it’s Christie we’re watching most closely now. She’s still in the nesting zone.


Her current location is off Toco point, which is a busy fishing area and the place where we lost contact with Peggy. Let’s hope she pulls a Riley and makes it through safely.

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Lily Rose

We name turtles after people sometimes. Not always, but sometimes.

Two years ago, we named one of the turtles we satellite tagged “Lily Rose.” You may remember her. Months after her transmitter stopped working, she was found nesting in French Guiana.

Lily Rose was named after a little girl: Miss Lily Rose Rosploch. And Lily Rose the girl was fighting neuroblastoma, a kind of cancer.

At one point, Lily was—miraculously—cancer free.

But then it came back.

And it is with great, great sadness that I tell you, sweet Miss Lily Rose died on January 31. She was five years old.


Lily (left) and her little sister, Mya.

Lily Rose (left) and her little sister, Mya.


Lily Roses

Lily Rose was a leatherback turtle we satellite tagged in July 2012 as part of the Great Canadian Turtle Race. In February, we stopped hearing from her tag. We didn’t know for sure what had happened to the tag or our turtle. So you can imagine how excited we were to hear from colleagues in French Guiana, that Lily Rose was seen nesting twice this summer! A team from the environmental group KWATA found her. She was not wearing her satellite transmitter any longer, but she looked healthy.

Lily Rose was named in honour of another Lily Rose. Miss Lily Rose the girl was fighting cancer. She was diagnosed on her third birthday—just before we tagged that turtle—with stage four neuroblastoma, a particularly deadly disease. So you can imagine how excited I am to tell you that last week, our wonderful and beloved Miss Lily Rose was miraculously declared cancer free. If you’d like, you can click here to listen to her tell you herself.

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Week 15: A comparison


It is cold today in Halifax- really cold. The current temperature is around -23 C with the wind-chill, and is expected to fall to -29 C tonight. All of us who have to brave freezing cold temperatures this week in Canada and the US Northeast and Midwest are likely a little envious of Inspire, Lily Rose, and Red Rocket’s current position.
As a comparison, the water temperature in Halifax Harbour is currently 4 C, with a freezing spray warning in effect. The surface temperature of the Caribbean Sea today? A lovely 27 C!

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Miss Lily Rose


In the lead, at the moment, is Lily Rose. This turtle is special to me. It is named for Miss Lily Rose Rosploch, a little girl I know.

This spring, a terrible thing happened to Lily the girl. On the day she turned three she was diagnosed with cancer. Stage four neuroblastoma. Neuroblastoma is an awful word. It makes me sad to type it.

But Miss Lily is a fighter. And she’s giving this everything she’s got. In the face of this frightening disease she is funny and thoughtful. She is patient. She dances. She plays with her brand-new baby sister, Mya. She wears the love around her like a shield.

And far away in the Atlantic, Lily the leatherback is swimming, unaware of her own daunting odds. She simply navigates the waters she’s in. Like we all have to. But there is strength in that journey. There is hope.

And it is strength and hope I wish for Miss Lily Rose.

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