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Project Report

Save Green Sea Turtles in Bermuda

Bermuda | RUN BY: Sea Turtle Conservancy | Status: completed

Project Background

STC’s work in Bermuda constitutes the world’s longest-continuous research and conservation program focused on sea turtles in their marine environment. Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018, the project is carried out as a partnership between the Sea Turtle Conservancy and several Bermuda-based institutions.

Project Overview

The primary aim is to continue protecting and recovering endangered green sea turtles in the Western Atlantic and Caribbean through a rigorous in-water monitoring and conservation program around the island of Bermuda. Protection of the green turtles inhabiting Bermuda’s “developmental habitat” is contributing to the recovery of sea turtle populations at critical nesting beaches in Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, Florida and many small Caribbean islands. The project also includes an annual training course for young biologists from Caribbean and Latin American nations that gives students practical experience conducting in-water turtle monitoring and helps build conservation capacity in the region.

Project Objectives

  1. To gather critical data about Bermuda’s Sea Turtles through a rigorous in-water research program looking at habitat use, health, growth rates, migratory behaviour, genetics, sex ratios and survival threats. Part of the study will include the use of satellite transmitters to monitor daily movements and behaviour of turtles around the island.
  2. To train aspiring biologists from communities in Latin America and the Caribbean in the proper methods for conducting in-water sea turtle monitoring in order to build conservation and research capacity in these critical locations for sea turtles.
  3. Conduct community outreach and education activities in Bermuda in order to raise awareness about threats facing these species and to build local support for sea turtle conservation.

Project Outcomes

Objective 1: Research

The projected completed a 49th year of gathering critical data about Bermuda’s sea turtles through a rigorous in-water research program looking at habitat use, health, growth rates, migratory behaviour, genetics, sex ratios and survival threats. Sampling with a new 1406 ft. net allowed the project to capture and collect data from 194 immature green turtles (Chelonia mydas) at 14 sites around the island. The turtles were tagged, biometric data were collected and the turtles were released unharmed at their capture sites. Of the 194 captures, 66 (34%) were recaptures of animals tagged in previous years. 

A satellite transmitter was deployed on one near-adult-sized green turtle on 18 August 2017. This transmitter continues to function normally and is providing positional information at the time of report preparation. The turtle’s movements can be tracked online.

Tag returns provide important information about the destinations and the fate of turtles after they leave Bermuda waters.

Objective 2: Training

The Project offered its International Course on the Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles. The course enabled us to train aspiring biologists from communities in Latin America and the Caribbean in the proper methods for conducting in-water sea turtle monitoring in order to build conservation and research capacity in these critical locations for sea turtles. The two-week course consisted of lectures, class discussions of assigned readings, a necropsy session, and ten days of field work. 

The students learned to capture immature green turtles using the entrapment net and searched for hawksbills on reefs. They also gained extensive practical experience in collecting data from the turtles once they were captured and brought on board the research vessel. This year’s course participants were drawn from Anguilla, Bermuda, Canada, France, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. 

Objective 3: Education

STC also aimed to raise broad public support, in Bermuda and far beyond for turtle conservation. As part of the 50th anniversary promotional activities and produced a new film about the project that covers some of the history and major accomplishments of the project. The film is now posted online and can be viewed here

What Next?

This project continues into its 50th consecutive year in 2018. Plans are underway for a series of public lectures around Bermuda regarding sea turtles and the threats to their survival. The first of these lectures will take place in late April 2018 and will be conducted by David Godfrey of the Sea Turtle Conservancy. David’s presentation will begin on the black sand beaches of Tortuguero, Costa Rica, the largest remaining nesting site for green turtles in the Western Hemisphere – and trace the beginnings of a movement to study and protect sea turtles that spread from Tortuguero to Bermuda and eventually around the world.

Can I Visit the Project?

Yes, on a limited basis. Each August the Sea Turtle Conservancy conducts a special VIP day that allows sea turtle fans and aspiring biologists to get an up-close view of the project out on the water. A select group of observers is taken offshore by boat and allowed to help swim the net an look for turtles. Participants will see every aspect of the project up-close. Space is extremely limited and will need to be arranged well in advance directly with Sea Turtle Conservancy. 

Original project proposal >>

 

Fundraising status

Project cost:(USD) 20,000.00

Still
needed
Raised
Status

0

20,000.79

Thanks to the following people who have contributed to this project.

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A.Alabdulsalam R.Alba E.Anderson J.Arango L.Avila A.Banaszek S.Bandara T.Barker M.Benfer G.bianucci D.Biesemans A.Bottoni L.Brambilla H.Brash G.Bringas Figueroa A.BRUNEL B.Burnside J.Carreira D.Chow N.Coimbra M.Correia J.Cousins M.Craig T.Crawford S.Davey M.de Lago R.Dentesano A.Dunlap S.Durack Z.Ezequiel H.Félix M.Fernandez Beltran C.Fiaccavento B.Fields P.Fitzsimons M.Galvin M.Geisler F.Giacomazzi M.Goodwin K.Gould L.Gouveia da Silva F.Gozzi A.Grassi M.GUMINA L.Handy N.Holmes Y.hsueh M.hu Y.ishimori S.Isidoro P.jekerany S.jensen V.Johannessen A.Juhken B.Juliussen P.Kaewdaungtien E.Kennedy S.Khandkar I.kuaygarond santos G.Kucsera R.Kunter A.Lakson B.Lange E.leitao C.Lim C.Marchio J.Marques L.Matrone B.Melendez C.Mielczarek R.Miniati C.Mitchell V.Moldoveanu G.MONTEMAYOR S.Morris N.Murphy F.Mustaccioli I.Nabilah J.Namadila S.nohara M.Nute C.Pena M.Prochazka J.Raley L.Ribeiro R.Robson M.Roiha T.Rutsch E.Ruud A.Sartori R.Schulmeister V.Sellæg W.Smieszek G.Smith B.Somerville F.Spini S.Stambaugh H.Stenersen A.Stokke J.Takasan P.TEJASWI L.Tenchini W.Tham H.Tramboo M.Urrutia O.Van erven F.varela A.Vega R.Vicent Tunas P.Wang T.Wilson C.Yates E.Zaldivar Valencia C.Zdan