Tag Archives: PITs

No more Christie

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Christie’s tag stopped transmitting on Saturday.

We are so disappointed. She was just 300 kilometers away from where we expected her to nest. She had logged approximately 11,500 kilometres since we tagged her.

Data from the tag on March 28 showed that she was diving normally and that the tag had plenty of battery. But, as you may remember, Christie had just started onto the shelf waters, a place where we know leatherbacks mate. It is our best guess that a male turtle damaged the antenna of the transmitter or knocked the tag off her altogether.

There is also always a possibility that she was caught in fishing gear.

If indeed, as we hope, Christie simply lost the tag mating, then we will keep our fingers crossed that someone finds our turtle when she eventually hauls up on the nesting beach. She should still have her flipper tags safely in place as well as her microchip. And there is a chance that her transmitter is still on. If that’s the case, the transmitter can be recovered—along with all of the important data it contains—if someone finds her. This happened before in the amazing story of Red Rockette. So we remain cautiously optimistic.

But we will miss following her movements. Christie was a bright spot in our days as we checked always with excitement to see how far she’d travelled. What a privilege it was to watch her remarkable journey (11,500 kilometres!!) up close.

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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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