The path of the turtles revealed
January 11, 2016  //  By:   //  Top News  //  No Comment

Turtles are one of the most resilient travelers in the world. They are known to start travel from the day they were born and ride the waves to their next destination. With many turtle species being studied, analyzing their travel paths and the kind of dangers they face while making their great migration. The leatherback turtles recently have become a focus for researchers to analyze how they move across from Gabon, to the south Atlantic. The sample turtles are given data tags on their backs and when they come back, scientists were able to prove that these turtles travel thousands of miles every year.

Sometimes, these turtles can be in the paths of fishing boats where they could accidentally get caught. The leatherback turtle is a very special kind of turtle being the largest one in the world. However, they are critically endangered already. This is due to the poaching of eggs as well as the turtles themselves getting caught by fishing gears. The size of the leatherback is around 1 to 2 meters and the weight could be around ¾ ton. They are expert travelers of the ocean since they can travel entire oceans and they can go back to their primitive homes in time for breeding every few years.

The study was initially started by the Royal Society Journal Proceedings which is a group of researchers. They have placed tags on around 25 female turtles of the leatherback species. Gabon is the perfect site, being the largest nesting site for these turtles. The group managed to collect data within 4 years. In Gabon, the estimated population is around 15 to 41,000 females. It is the largest recorded number anywhere. The purpose of the project is to see how the species are moving across. The context also is that the population of the pacific species has declined considerably so it is interesting to know what the Atlantic versions are doing. This is also the first time the movements of the leatherback has been recorded coming from the south Atlantic since most studies on their movement were done up north or at the Pacific.

According to information, there are 3 prevailing patterns that are very prominent. The first set would stay in the warm southern Atlantic waters. Another set would go south west down to South America to stay in the shallow waters. Some of them move further south on the Western coastal areas of Africa. One of the possible reasons for the diverse routes they take would be because as they are weak when they were born, they just follow the waves and as they grow older, they managed to keep following the paths that the waves have led them to go. This is also necessary to track how the turtles manage to survive and what critical events happen that leads them to declining. Most potent reasons are poaching and getting trapped in fishing nets. Nonetheless, it is necessary to preserve what is left in leatherback population for years to come.

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