How do loggerhead turtles live? A project monitors their trips through the Mediterranean

On October 1, 2021, they were released at Mediterranean 10 one-year-old loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings (Caretta caretta). Five of them were released on the Vila-Seca beach in Tarragona (Catalonia) and the other five on the Cabopino beach in Marbella (Andalusia).

Of the 10 tagged turtles, 8 are still emitting todayalthough only the updated position in the last month of 6 of them is known.

This action was carried out within the actions of the LIFE INTEMARES project coordinated by the Biodiversity Foundation of the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, in collaboration with the Government of Catalonia and the Andalusian Government.

The LIFE INTEMARES project pursues the objective of laying the foundations for effectively managing the marine spaces of the Natura 2000 Network through research actions, conservation, monitoring, citizen participation and training. With the satellite marking of the 10 loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings born in the Spanish Mediterranean, progress is being made towards the goal of achieving effective management of the aforementioned marine spaces.

The 10 loggerhead turtle specimens came from the spawning of female loggerhead turtles found on the beaches of Fuengirola (Málaga) and Vila-Seca (Tarragona) in the summer of 2020. After a year as part of a headstarting program, they were tagged and released in October 2021.

Headstarting programs aim to favor the growth in optimal conditions of the animals, with the aim of favoring the survival of the hatchlings, in this case loggerhead turtles, during the first year of life in which survival in the natural environment is lower. The aim is to give the specimens a head start by improving their prospects for survival and reaching sexual maturity.

The importance of knowing where they move

The dispersal of juvenile loggerhead turtles is unknownwhich adds to the little knowledge we have of the dispersion and behavior and habitat use of the loggerhead sea turtle during its first years of life, a period known as the “lost years”.

In Spain, to date, a total of 45 animals from headstarting programs from 7 different nests have been tagged.

One of the loggerhead sea turtle specimens released in October. EUCRANTUS

The The objectives of these monitoring with satellite tracking tags are generally to estimate the adaptation to the conditions of life in the wild, study the survival, know the dispersion and try to identify feeding areas of these juveniles. As well as studying the suitability of the beaches for the dispersal of hatchlings, although it cannot be assumed that this is exactly the same as that of hatchlings, since they have less swimming capacity.

satellite marks

These are marks that, when the turtle is out of the water, send satellite signals allowing the position of the specimen carrying the device to be calculated with this information. The markings are adapted to the size and weight of the animal so that they do not cause any inconvenience and they work with a small solar panel.

Turtles of Catalonia

Their names are Vicent, Intemares, Bel·la, Hunter and West. Intemares, Be·la and Vicent, during the first 4 months, have been following the north current. Bel·la and Vicent have traveled the Levantine coast towards the south and Intemares has moved towards the north, towards the Ligurian Sea.

Clicking HERE you can follow his journey.

Tour of the Vicent, Bel la and Intemares turtles until 01/26/2022. EUCRANTUS

Tortoises of Andalusia

Ana, Marina, Flor, Alfonsina and Eucrante. The whereabouts of four of them (Ana, Marina, Alfonsina and Eucrante) have been known for two months, although four months later we only have news of three of them (Ana, Marina and Alfonsina). These specimens, released in the south of the peninsula, have followed the Algerian coast, leaving Alfonsina and Eucrante in front of Algeria. On the other hand, Ana and Marina have followed the coastline until they reach Tunisia and are now in the Strait of Sicily. Ana and Marina have traveled around 1500km.

Clicking HERE you can follow his journey.

Tour of the Alfonsina, Eucrante, Ana and Marina turtles until 01/26/2022. EUCRANTUS

It is curious to be able to observe how turtles from different nests, once released into the Mediterranean Sea, follow totally different routes between one group and another. The turtles released in Catalonia with a tendency towards the northern half of the Mediterranean and those released in Andalusia using the southern half and sailing eastwards until they reach the Strait of Sicily.

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