A project of Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire in conjunction with the partners and sponsors detailed below.
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Anneke Nests at Playa Chikitu, Leaves with Transmitter
Just after sunset on Sunday night, a massive sea turtle weighing approximately 150 kilograms slowly emerged from the sea and crawled up the beach at Playa Chikitu, Washington Slagbaai National Park. This sea turtle, a Green species, took several hours to find her spot, dig a nest, and lay her fourth clutch of the season.
Before returning to the water, Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire (STCB) staff and volunteers intercepted the turtle, named Anneke, and constrained her in a special wooden box where flipper tags and a satellite transmitter were successfully attached following standard protocols. Anneke was released at midnight and smoothly departed into the sea.
Throughout their adult lives sea turtles migrate between two homes: their foraging grounds and breeding grounds. This navigational acheivement is extraordinary considering the large distance between many turtles “two homes”. For female turtles this often means returning and crawling the same beach where they themselves hatched decades earlier.
Anneke’s home foraging grounds are currently unknown, but should soon be discovered by tracking her migration route. Identifying these routes and Bonaire’s turtles home foraging grounds provides valuable information to help protect these endangered species.
This year STCB invites everyone on Bonaire to follow Anneke on her journey and have launched the Great Migration Game. Make one of the closest predictions of where Anneke is going and win a Blackberry with a year of service along with other cool prizes. To participate go to www.bonaireturtles.org, click on the Great Migration Game link and follow the instructions.
While sea turtles have a fairly regular nesting schedule, just like people, each turtle acts differently and with every turtle there are opportunities to learn the different nesting behaviors of these incredible animals.
Anneke, measuring an impressive one meter straight carapace length was unusual. She showed up on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night to check out the beach from the surf, but without crawling or nesting. Finally, Sunday, to the delight of the STCB team who had expected her on Friday based on her pattern of previous nests, Anneke crawled the beach and after four or five attempts to make her body pit she found the right spot to successfully deposit her clutch of approximately 100 eggs.
Because this was Anneke’s fourth nest of this season, she may soon leave for her home foraging grounds, but it is possible that she will return to lay a fifth nest before departing from her nesting area.
Anneke is the first and only turtle to be tracked from Bonaire during the 2012 nesting season and the fourth Green sea turtle ever fitted with a transmitter on Bonaire.
Tracking of this Green sea turtle is made possible by a full sponsorship provided by the Valley Foundation.
Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire is a non-governmental research and conservation organization that has been protecting sea turtles since 1991, member of the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST) and a project partner of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA).
‘Our mission is to ensure the protection and recovery of the sea turtle populations throughout their range’