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Sir Thomas Turtleton

Cayman Turtle Farm Green Sea Turtle Releases

A project of Cayman Turtle Farm.


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Sir Thomas Turtleton is an adult male estimated age 60 years, originally caught from the wild in 1970 to be part of the original breeding stock of Mariculture Ltd. (subsequently renamed Cayman Turtle Farm), released back into the wild in the North Sound of Grand Cayman on 2nd June 2012 in celebration of Her Majesty the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

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Species: Green Turtle
Life Stage: Adult
Gender: Male
Release Date: 2012-06-02 20:30:00
Release Location: North Sound, Grand Cayman
Last Location: 2012-06-24 17:39:08

Background

>>> Please see UPDATES at bottom of the text below <<<

Sir Thomas Turtleton was caught near Surinam, South America, in the 1970’s as an adult male Green Sea Turtle, to be part of the initial captive breeding stock at Mariculture Ltd. - later renamed Cayman Turtle Farm. His age is estimated at 60 years (although not known precisely). He now weighs over 600 pounds.

In celebration of Her Majesty the Queen's Diamond Jubilee (60 years reigning as monarch of the United Kingdom and its Overseas Territories, and Head of State of most countries in the British Commonwealth), Sir Thomas Turtleton was released back into the wild on Saturday 2nd June 2012 at approximately 3:30 PM Eastern Standard Time [EST] at Dragon Bay (formerly Safehaven) in the North Sound of Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, a UK Overseas Territory located in the northwest Caribbean Sea.

To optimize battery life versus probability of successful transmissions during ARGOS satellite overpasses, his satellite tag is programmed to transmit to the ARGOS satellite when at the surface during an uplink time window of 6 hours, repeating every 54 hours (2.25 days). The tag has sensors so that it does not attempt to transmit when the turtle is underwater, only when it is at the surface. During intervening periods between uplink windows, the satellite tag collects turtle dive data and GPS position data for uploading during the next transmission window. When the ARGOS satellite successfully receives transmissions and location fixes, the location fixes will automatically appear on the map within one or two days. In addition to Location Classes 0, 1, 2, and 3, provided the error ellipse shows reasonable accuracy for the initial part of Sir Thomas Turtleton's migration we may display ARGOS Location Class A as colored circles, Location Class B as dots.

>>> UPDATE 2012-06-06: Since approximately 11:00 AM EST on Sunday 3rd June 2012 when Sir Thomas Turtleton began his migration swim southbound from Grand Cayman:
Sir Thomas Turtleton has averaged approximately 2.3 km/hr (1.4 mph). Over a set of 4-hour sampling periods, his maximum dive duration has ranged from 21 to 24 minutes, and percentage of time underwater has ranged from 93% to 97%.

>>> UPDATE 2012-06-11: Sir Thomas Turtleton has arrived at the continental shelf off the coast of Honduras, near the border of Nicaragua! At his last position fix, the water depth was between 100 metres and 200 metres (328 to 656 feet) and he was still heading southwest. His average speed has slowed down upon reaching the shallower water.

>>> UPDATE 2012-06-13: Analysis of Sir Thomas Turtleton's migration path shows that for just about all of his migration, he was swimming perpendicular to the sea current. He is still remaining in shallow water, depth approx 10 to 20 metres, between 40 and 60 miles northeast of the Caribbean coastline border of Honduras and Nicaragua.

>>> UPDATE 2012-06-17: Sir Thomas Turtleton has arrived at the Miskito Cays (Cayos Miskitos) off the coast of Nicaragua. Note: Some Location Class [LC] B positions had caused filtering of valid LC A and LC 1 positions. This has now been corrected. On the tracking map, all LC B positions now appear as small dots; LC A, 0,1,2,3, and GPS positions appear as coloured circles.

>>> UPDATE 2012-06-23: Sir Thomas Turtleton continues to travel south.

>>> UPDATE 2012-06-25: Sir Thomas Turtleton continues to travel south, staying close to the coastline of Nicaragua.

>>> UPDATE 2012-07-04: The ARGOS satellite has detected transmissions from Sir Thomas Turtleton up to 1 July, but the transmissions from June 27 onward have been weak and garbled such that no location data could be computed or retrieved. We have received diagnostic information up to July 1 that shows the problem is not low battery voltage. As Sir Thomas has been in shallow water for several days now, it is possible that he has been rubbing his shell against the underside of coral, which large sea turtles do deliberately on occasion to dislodge barnacles that are slowing them down, and that action could have damaged the whip antenna of his satellite tag. A damaged antenna would be consistent with the low signal strengths measured by the satellite in the latest transmissions detected on 27 June and onward.

Thanks for following the progress of Sir Thomas Turtleton!


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