An untagged new(!) green sea turtle on Eleuthera
Thanks to the ongoing commitment of supporters like you, the end of 2019 marks the completion of 6 years of continuous study of sea turtles in The Bahamas. Unfortunately, this year was the most challenging season yet, as a deadly turtle-specific virus continues to spread amongst the islands, and Hurricane Dorian devastated the country after making landfall on Great Abaco Island in September.
Prior to Hurricane Dorian, new research on Abaco was going especially well, with volunteer teams tagging over 200 turtles, including several loggerhead and hawksbill turtles, which are not seen very often on Eleuthera. This massive undertaking established an excellent baseline population for the long-term recapture studies planned for the following years.
With the help of four graduate students, lead scientist Dr. Brooks was able to dedicate one full month of data collection to studying the fibropapillomatosis disease, collecting data from over 80 turtles in Abaco and Andros, as well as turtles on Eleuthera. This is the first extensive study of its kind in the region, and will provide important data on the spread and impacts of the disease that will be used to try to identify possible treatment or management strategies.
Dr. Brooks’ complete analyses and findings from all of these activities will be released early next year. In the meantime, as Boston gets colder and darker every day, we are looking forward to returning to The Bahamas in 2020, when Earthwatch will continue data collection on Eleuthera and Great Exuma, and support rebuilding and humanitarian efforts on Great Abaco however we can.
As sea turtles remain under threat from fishing, pollution, coastal development, pollution, and climate change, every year’s worth of data collected is critical to our complete understanding of each species, and brings us closer to identifying the most effective protection strategies. Earthwatch must raise almost $500,000 in donations annually in order to fully fund Tracking Sea Turtles in the Bahamas and other important marine conservation efforts around the world. This means that none of this work would be possible without the generous commitment from donors like YOU. Thank you for your steadfast commitment to protecting endangered sea turtles.
On behalf of Earthwatch’s scientists, staff and board, Happy New Year!
Director of Annual Giving & Planned Giving
These teen volunteers helped tag over 200 turtles!
Always nice to see such a large, healthy turtle!
Volunteers also study sea turtle habitat for clues
Dr. Brooks holds a juvenile green sea turtle