A project of Marine Turtle Research Group in conjunction with the partners and sponsors detailed below.
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Click on an animal's name for maps and more information.
Since 2005, a partnership of conservation biologists and Non-Governmental Organisations, lead by the University of Exeter & Seaturtle.org, The Gabon Turtle Partnership, Parcs Gabon and the Wildlife Conservation Society have been fitting satellite transmitters to leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) nesting in Gabon (Atlantic Coast, Central Africa), whose beaches host the worlds largest nesting aggregation of leatherback turtles, see link.
This year's fieldwork is taking place in Pongara National Park, northwest Gabon, where the parternship has fitted 2 leatherback turtles with satellite tracking devices. The two turtles have been named Darwinia, after the projects funders (Darwin Initiative), and Noelle after the Christmas period.
Threats faced by leatherback turtles on the nesting beaches, in the coastal zone and in the open-sea are numerous; satellite tracking enables us to build an understanding of their critical habitats, with the hope to inform plans to limit negative interactions with human activities.
This years fieldwork follows the successes of last year, where females were tracked using Argos-linked GPS telemetry, see the project page. In previous nesting seasons we have attached satellite transmitters to leatherback turtles nesting in Mayumba National Park, in the southwest of Gabon.
The partnerships' work in Gabon, which includes satellite telemetry of marine turtles (leatherback and olive ridley turtles), training and capacity building in the use of fisheries vessel monitoring systems and assessing the distribution and abundance of dolphins and whales is funded by the Darwin Initiative, which is financed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs of the UK Government under the project Darwin Marine Biodiversity Action Plan for Gabon.
Our work in Gabon is also supported by a range of additional funders, including the Natural Environment Research Council (UK; Award NER/S/A/2004/12980), the Large Pelagics Research Center, funded through NOAA (US; Award NA04NMF4550391), the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, through the Shellshock campaign, and the European Social Fund. The Gabon Turtle Partnership receives funding from the Marine Turtle Conservation Fund (US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Department of the Interior).