A project of Conservancy of Southwest Florida.
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Species: Kemp's Ridley
Life Stage: Immature
Release Date: 2016-12-09 19:00:00
Release Location: Ten Thousand Islands
Last Location: 2017-05-24 17:36:33
Cynthia and Harvey
Great Hearts Monte Vista 4th Grade
Anna, Lia, & Ava Francica
Inly School UE2
Shelley measured 57 cm curved carapace length. She spent the first week of tracking near the capture site in Gullivan Bay within the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Shelley then moved offshore and back inshore, moving southward along the outer Ten Thousand Islands archipelago. This has put her within the boundary of Everglades National Park and demonstrates the connectivity of marine protected areas along the west coast of Florida. Shelley traveled as far as another island named Turtle Key in Rabbit Key Pass and then backtracked to Gullivan Bay via her offshore route. She then moved 20-30 km (12-18 miles) offshore of Cape Romano in early January following the passage of a strong cold front and lower water temperatures. Shelley moved inshore and northward, possibly to Gordon Pass in Naples, followed by another movement offshore and then inshore/northward to San Carlos Bay between Sanibel Island and Fort Myers Beach. She continued northward along Sanibel and Captiva Islands to Boca Grand Pass in mid-January. These latter movements brought Shelley to the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program, again demonstrating the connectivity of protected areas in southwest Florida. Low to medium concentrations of red tide algae were reported off Boca Grande on 17-24 January and Shelley continued her northward trek. High concentrations of this harmful algae were reported further north in Sarasota and Manatee Counties and Shelley responded by staying well offshore. She continued northward and was located 35 km (22 miles) off Egmont Key/Tampa Bay in early February. Shelley then resumed her northward trek, moving inshore towards Homosassa Bay and then on to the Cedar Keys. This brought her into the Big Bend Aquatic Preserve, the largest aquatic preserve in the state. She moved to deeper waters off the Suwanee River and continued northward to Apalachee Bay. Toward the end of February, Shelley shifted her track westward along the Florida Panhandle coast and on to the Mississippi-Alabama shelf waters off the Chandeleur Islands by early March. She then slowed her movements, possibly trying to figure out how to get around the Mississippi River delta, and then continued westward along/offshore the Louisiana coast. By mid-April Shelley approached the Texas coast. This corresponds to the nesting season for Kemp's ridleys in the western Gulf and Shelley's behavior suggested she may have nested on Padre Island. Shelley continued southward through May, crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, and was located off Mexican nesting beaches. The satellite tag is sponsored by Bob and Eileen Hord.