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In the French West Indies, five turtle species are threatened. This includes the hawksbill turtle, green turtle, leatherback turtle, loggerhead turtle and olive Ridley turtle. Three of these species are tracked closely by national and local authorities.

Protecting wildlife with Argos

The Argos system is one of the prinicipal technologies used by scientists and conservationists, to identify feeding and nesting areas, and to better understand the turtles’ migratory patterns. Each month, close to 650 turtles are tracked by Argos worldwide. The data collected via the Argos system are crucial to developing conservation strategies and also help with public awareness campaigns, demonstrating to the public how vulnerable these protected species are.

Better understanding migration

Damien Chevallier, scientist at the CNRS-IPHC, reveals a migratory journey of more than 20,000 km undertaken by a leatherback turtle. This turtle left Martinique in June 2018 to arrive in Senegalese waters (close to Cape Verde) in January 2019. Its six month journey alternated between feeding and travelling.

The most recent site visited by this turtle, just north of Cape Verde is known for intensive fishing. Accidental bycatch by fishing vessels is one of the major threats to turtles today. In French Guiana, special measures (i.e. Turtle Exclusion Devices -TED) are being used and other techniques to limit accidental bycatch of marine turtles during fishing campaigns are being explored. Results of this tracking study suggest that similar measures should perhaps be adapted along the threatened turtles’ entire migration route.

suivi tortue luth

A journey of more than 20,000 kilometers was undertaken by this leatherback turtle. It left Maritinique in June 2018. Its latest positions, off the coast of Senegal, were reported in January 2019. Turtle tracked by Damien Chevallier, CNRS-IPHC. Click for map.

The national, international and local authorities involved in this project:

To learn more :

View the map 

Visit the website (in French) Tortues Marines Martinique

Visit the wesite (in French) Tortues Marines Guadeloupe

 

 

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