Entrecasteaux 2017 : a special year for the green turtles !

16 January 2018

environnement Science

Entrecasteaux, green turtle at Huon islet, DMA FES.jpg

As every year, and since 2007, a team from the Department of Fisheries and Marine Environment (SPE) of the Direction of Maritime Affairs go to the Entrecasteaux atolls, located in the far north of Caledonia to perform a turtles tracking. This time, accompanied by Ru Taime from Cook Islands, our partner, David Ugolini (Caledonian Society of Ornithology) and Hugues Gossuin (Aquarium of the lagoons), the team observed the presence of an extremely large number of green turtles.

For the first time in 9 years, an average of 1 046 green turtle climbs per night was recorded between 10th and 17th december !

A figure close to that recorded in 2008 because of 1 167 green turtle climbs per night had been recorded in the same interval. Is that enough to considered that 2017 could be a 'green turtle year'? (Find all the details in the report of the 2017 mission that will soon be online). Another element seems to confirm this hypothesis is the observation by David Ugolini, an passioned ornithologist, of a very low rate of reproduction among boobies and the nesting species along the beach, such as noddis, diamond terns and crested terns, probably disturbed by the number of green turtles came lay this year on the islets of Huon, Leizour and Fabre. For the moment, the collected data allow only to make an observation without a precise conclusion being able to be advanced.

Turtles tagged come back

 

Entrecasteaux, green turtle tracking, DMA FES.jpg

 

During this 2017season, other surprises were waiting the SPE team. If sixty green turtles could be ringed in Huon, eight turtles already tagged have been observed. Three of them, ringed since 2001, the 18th and 19th november, were reviewed last december, the 13th, on the island of Huon. Also on this islet, four other turtles that already be aware tagging in Huon and were reviewed. A first one with a carapace measuring 111 cm was back in the same place 3 years later, almost the same day. Met on December 15, this turtle has been banded december 16, 2014 ! Then, a second turtle was back six years later, four days from the anniversary date of his banding, on December 17. She has been banded on december 13, 2011. As for the other two, the information concerning their banding was not found. Finally, at the Fabre islet, a turtle banded on the spot on November 24, 1997 was seen on December 9th ! 20 years and 15 days later ! It can be said that turtles are always faithful to the rendezvous to perpetuate the specie.