Satellite Tracking Update: ‘Bonni’

September 13, 2018
On Monday, September 11, a satellite transmitter was deployed on a green turtle named ‘Bonni’, right after she finished laying her nest. With this technology we can track ‘Bonni’ in real-time during her migration to her feeding habitat. This information guides best management practices for the conservation of sea turtles in the region. For more information, please visit our website.

The satellite transmitter was fitted at 4:00am by STCB staff and volunteers. We started to receive signals immediately and we could see that ‘Bonni’ left Bonaire right after returning to the sea, which indicates that this may have been her last nest of this season and she started her journey back home under a beautiful night full of stars.

‘Bonni’ is now 43 nautical miles from Bonaire, on the most eastern part of the Las Aves Archipelago. Las  Aves is located north of Venezuela, between Bonaire and the Los Roques Archipelago. The last signal was received at 10:29am this morning and we’re eager to find out where she’ll go next!

Thank you Corendon for funding ‘Bonni’s’ satellite transmitter! For more information about the Corendon Foundation (in Dutch), please visit their website.

September 14, 2018
Signals from the satellite transmitter show that ‘Bonni’ is currently cruising along the eastern part of the Las Aves Archipelago. It is known that female sea turtles don’t eat, or eat scarcely, while migrating from their feeding grounds to their nesting beach and commonly not at all once the laying has started. This in order to save space for the eggs to develop in their bodies. Hence, the turtles lose the fat reserves that they built prior to their reproductive migration. For this reason, if suitable habitat is found in their migration back home, sea turtles may stop to eat and regain some energy for their journey. It may be that ‘Bonni’ is doing that right now in Las Aves, where mangroves and seagrass beds are part of the marine ecosystem providing a good feeding site for green turtles. It is also possible that ‘Bonni’ lives in the Las Aves Archipelago; we can’t wait to find out during the coming days!

September 17, 2018

Yesterday morning at 11:00am, ‘Bonni’ was still in the Las Aves Archipelago. However, when we checked the map this morning, we found out that ‘Bonni’ is swimming towards Bonaire again! What a surprise!

STCB has satellite tracked twenty-six sea turtles so far and ‘Bonni’ is the first tracked post-breeding sea turtle that ‘has done a loop’ like this after leaving Bonaire. This information supports STCB’s ongoing satellite tracking program, as there is not a ‘one fits all’ formula. Each tracking experience enhances our knowledge about migration patterns and thus gives us a better understanding of how to best protect sea turtles within the Caribbean region.

‘Bonni’s’ migration behavior does pose several questions. For example, is it common for green turtles to travel this far during their inter-nesting periods? And, will ‘Bonni’ return to Bonaire to lay one or more nests or is she merely passing by to continue north? Or is it possible that ‘Bonni’ lives on Bonaire, even though Bonaire’s habitat is a developmental habitat and not a feeding ground for adult turtles?

To be continued…

18 September, 2018

This morning, signals showed that ‘Bonni’ has definitely returned to Bonaire! We’re very eager to find out whether she’ll lay another nest…

21 September, 2018

We are excited to share with you that ‘Bonni’ came ashore last night and laid her fourth nest of this season!

After returning to the sea, ‘Bonni’ started swimming east again, possibly towards the Las Aves Archipelago. We are curious to see whether ‘Bonni’ is indeed going back to Las Aves; or will her journey take her elsewhere? And, if she is making her way to Las Aves again, will she actually stay this time or will she return to Bonaire once more to surprise us with another nest?

We hope to find out soon!

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