Tagged turtles need your help

12 February 2013 - An initiative to track the migratory paths of over 15,000 turtles in the Pacific region is calling on your support. 'Turtle tagging' involves clipping tags on the flippers of turtles to help estimate turtle population in the Pacific and their nesting and foraging habitats. That is phase one of this initiative, the next step requires the support of the Pacific community as a whole.

Turtle Tagging T-Shirts2
The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) is asking that when people come across tagged turtles, they collect the information on the tags and report it to their national environment or fisheries department. The information can also be submitted to SPREP for which you will be sent a t-shirt to commemorate your cooperation.

"We have six species of mostly endangered sea turtles in the Pacific, all of which are migratory. SPREP and her members embarked on the turtle tagging initiative in the mid 1990's and since then, we have a record of well over 15,000 turtles," said Catherine Siota, the Turtle Database Officer at SPREP.

"The more we know about these turtles, the better we can plan how to monitor and manage the conservation of sea turtles in the Pacific."

Turtle Tagging T-Shirts1
Each flipper tag has a one-letter prefix and a series of up to five numbers. This tag number contains important information about the turtle such as the date it was tagged, the country it was released from, the organisation or person that tagged it and where it has travelled.  
"If you come across a tagged sea turtle, please let us know as this information is valuable and in return we have the Turtle Tagging T-Shirts which we can send you to show that you have supported this important conservation initiative."

It is also important that people do not remove the tags from the flippers of the turtle. This will cause pain to the turtle and stops the sharing of valuable information about the history of this turtle.

"We really need your support for this to be a successful programme. This is a time for all Pacific communities to come together to protect our sea turtles so if you do come across a tagged turtle, please let us know. Thank you."

To view a turtle tracking map please visit:  http://www.sprep.org/marine-turtles/marine-turtle-satellite-tracking

If you sight a tagged turtle you can fill out information on the online report form  or you can contact Catherine Siota at catherines@sprep.org
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