Friday, March 23, 2007
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Tagged turtle from Palau recovered in Indonesia
A Green turtle that was tagged in Palau last year had recently been found in Indonesian waters, according to the Palau Turtle Monitoring and Conservation Program of the Bureau of Marine Resources.

The report said that on Feb. 5, 2007, an Indonesian fisherman off Likupang, North Sulawesi accidentally netted a large green turtle with a titanium flipper tag numbered R29713. The fisherman reported the tag to a local dive operator, who told World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) Indonesia.

WWF bought the live turtle, which required 6 people to lift it into a pick-up truck that was driven to the city of Manado where it was released. Thanks to an international sea turtle e-mail listserve, Palau's BMR’s Marine Turtle Conservation & Monitoring (MTCMP) office noticed a posting regarding the turtle with tag R29713, one of hundreds of tags donated to the MTCMP by the South Pacific Regional Environmental Program (SPREP) based in Samoa.

Jay Andrew, Peter Lorenzo, and Paul Hormar, who are Conservation Officers with the collaborating Helen Reef Project, attached this unique tag to a nesting green turtle on the remote Helen Island of Hatohobei State on February 26, 2006. This remarkable large green turtle returned to nest on eight separate occasions, laying a total of 956 eggs of which 726 hatched and 230 did not hatch. In 2006, the turtle nested on February 26th, March 10th, March 20th, Apri 22nd, May 1st, May 11th, May 24th, and June 11th.

Out of the 266 turtles that have been tagged in Palau since 2004, a total of206 were tagged on Helen Island. This is the first documentation of a turtle tagged with the Helen Reef Project then caught in a different location.

Sea turtles throughout the world are known to migrate thousands of kilometers between their nesting beaches and feeding grounds. Tagging data such as this proves the interconnectedness of turtle populations that navigate from one country's waters to another's. The MTCMP has also tracked two nesting green turtles with satellite transmitters, mapping their progress from Helen Island and Merir Island to Papua, Indonesia. This research highlights the need for regional cooperation in the conservation and management of this endangered sea turtle species.