New tracking program to shed light on turtle’s journey

Dec 7, 2014 | ,
A female flatback turtle with tracking transmitter
A new project will use transmitters to find out where the female Flatback turtles that nest on Mackay’s beaches go once they have laid their eggs.

Where do our region’s female turtles go? That elusive question is set to be answered by the Mackay and District Turtle Watch Association in partnership with James Cook University.

A new project, funded by Mackay Regional Council’s Natural Environment Levy, is seeing adult female Flatback Turtles (Natator depressus) fitted with satellite transmitters to find out where the female turtles that nest on Mackay’s beaches go once they have laid their eggs.

Four turtles will have transmitters fitted this season, with three attached so far. The turtles are now actively sending back data to help us understand the movements of the Flatback species.

The transmitters, which are fitted with a special webbing harness, will send back data for up to a year. Using satellite telemetry, the transmitters will relay information each time receivers break the surface of the water when the turtles come up to breath.

This will allow researchers to track their movements, with the community also invited on the journey – anyone can jump online to see where the turtles have been by heading to www.seaturtle.org

This project goes a long way to increasing the knowledge about the turtles that nest along our coastline, which in turn will help efforts to conserve these iconic creatures and ensure their return to our region each year.