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New Turtle ID Project at Cap Ternay

By Molly and Camilla 3 years ago
Categories Mahe and Curieuse

This week, volunteers Molly and Camilla talk us through the new turtle ID program up and running in Cap Ternay. 

Here at GVI Cap Ternay, we have recently started a database to help us identify turtles seen on dives, using photographs we have taken. Each turtle has distinctive scales behind its eye, almost like a human fingerprint. We are focusing on getting photos of this area of their body, to build an understanding of the individuals coming in and out of the bay and surrounds. The most commonly seen turtles in our bay are the Hawksbill and Green species. When these are spotted, we make a note of the depth they are seen at, the gender, the species and also a note of their behaviour, for example if they are at the surface or if they are feeding.

Although Bay Ternay is not necessarily a nesting ground for these turtles, it is still important that we collect this data, so we can see if the turtles found here are resident, and if so, how long they have been here and what age they are. We also want to know how many of the turtles are transient. It can also be an indication of how healthy the reef is. Monitoring turtles in general is important because there are many threats that can harm them, such as poaching, pollution and loss of nesting sites.