A project of University of Exeter in conjunction with the partners and sponsors detailed below.
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The Gabon Sea Turtle Partnership has estimated that between 36,000 and 126,000 leatherback nests are laid on Gabon’s beaches every year, about 50% of which occur in Mayumba National Park, and about 23% in Pongara National Park (Witt et al. 2009). This degree of reproductive effort suggests that Gabon hosts the largest nesting population of leatherback turtles in the world, and approximately 60% of all nesting females in the entire Atlantic Ocean.
The objectives of this satellite tracking project are:
(a) Determine the number of nests laid per season per female and the duration between each nesting event.
(b) Assess the distance between successive nests during the season.
(c) Develop distribution maps of nesting and inter-nesting habitat use through high-resolution location data and diving behaviour data.
(d) Study the acoustic environment to which turtles are exposed at sea, through sound recording on the turtle.
(e) Evaluate the effectiveness of current protection measures and propose management regimes tailored toward addressing the overlap between sea turtle distribution and behaviours and anthropogenic activities.
This project is a collaborative effort between the Gabon National Parks Agency, the Gabon Sea Turtle Partnership, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Marine Turtle Research Group at the University of Exeter.
The project is generously funded by VAALCO Inc. and Harvest NR.