22 May 2013 17:13:41
New Turtle Tracking
UnderWater World launches its new satellite tracking system for rehabilitated turtles
On the eve of World Turtle Day, UnderWater World released two rehabilitated olive ridley turtles off the coast of Mooloolaba – the first turtles at the attraction to be fitted with a new satellite tracking system.
Two rehabilitated olive ridley sea turtles, one named ‘Jamieson’ after Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson, are the first turtles to be released and monitored in real-time by the attraction and turtle researchers. Previously, all rescued turtles were tagged with a coded, stainless steel tag. The codes were logged into StrandNet a government-managed animal tracking system, which meant rehabilitated tagged animals could only be tracked if they were either injured again or caught by researchers, who could then check the code in StrandNet for the animal’s history.
The new satellite tracking system means UnderWater World team and researchers can access real-time information about each turtle tagged – tracking the turtle’s location, depth and movement. In the next few months, UnderWater World visitors will also be able to track the rehabilitated turtle journeys on TV screens that will be fitted in the attraction’s Turtle Temple zone.
UnderWater World has been caring for sick and injured turtles for 24 years and estimates 829 turtles have been nursed during that time. Turtle tagging builds on the success of the rescue and rehabilitation program, which has already seen 67 turtles cared for at UnderWater World in the past year.