View Full Version : Loggerhead turtle's migration being tracked via satellite

Marlene Robinson
08-14-2011, 06:54 AM
The 21st sea turtle to be satellite tracked by Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire is now near La Tortuga Island in Venezuela's coastal waters, having traveled 500 km (~300 miles) in 12 days.

Toyo is a female loggerhead who was tagged with a satellite transmitter on Aug. 1 at Playa Chikitu in Washington Park. She was intercepted after completing her nest of 94 eggs at Playa Chikitu in Washington Slaagbai Park. Playa Chikitu is the major nesting beach for green sea turtles on Bonaire, but this is the first record of a loggerhead nesting at Chikitu in the 9 years of STCB's systematic monitoring program.

STCB publishes frequent updates of tracked turtles' journeys via Google Earth mapping. To follow Toyo's journey in the days ahead and learn about sea turtle satellite tracking, go to:


If you'd like to receive email updates of the 2011 satellite tracking season, you can subscribe at:


You can also follow and comment on Toyo's migration and see photos of her being fitted with her transmitter at STCB's new Facebook page:


Roy aka rayman
08-14-2011, 12:23 PM
Very interesting to see the track of Toyos journeys in the future.

How long do the batteries in the transmitter last? :hummm:

Marlene Robinson
08-16-2011, 10:53 AM
The transmitter battery is estimated to provide locations for approximately 280 days. But under real conditions, battery life is affected by the turtle's behavior and by environmental temperature. For example, because signals are sent (and the battery is therefore active) only when the transmitter is out of the water, the more often a turtle surfaces, the more signals we get and the shorter the battery life.

Other reasons transmitters stop signaling: when the antenna is broken off - this can happen for instance when sea turtles find a rocky niche and proceed to scrape their carapace, perhaps to clear encrusting barnacle and other detritus. Of course, when a sea turtle dies under the water the transmitter will also cease to signal. Common ways this can happen: sea turtles may become entangled in underwater fishing line and drown, be hit by boat propellers and sink or occasionally be killed by sharks .

At STCB we're most interested to see where Bonaire's breeding turtles' home foraging grounds are. We always hope that the transmitter will keep signaling until the turtle has indeed reached its destination. Beyond that, it of course would be of some interest to track the turtle indefinitely. However, satellite tracking is expensive. We are charged for every transmission received by the Argos satellite until the transmitter stops signaling. Right now we are still receiving signals from Piffie, a hawksbill turtle who was tagged on October 7th, 2010, arrived in her home foraging grounds on Anegada in the British Virgin Islands just 6 weeks later and has remained there since. We just keep waiting for that battery to die....

Maybe a bit long an answer to your question, but hope it's of interest.

Roy aka rayman
08-19-2011, 06:14 PM
Thanks again for the information :cool:

I'll certainly be calling by the SCTB on my next trip to Bonaire. :ymmd: