Jeanne, known as Madame Torti in the Seychelles, is a turtle conservation legend. Turtle Action Group Seychelles provides a forum where she and other turtle researchers in the Seychelles can communicate and collaborate.
Ever since I was a little girl I knew I wanted to be a scientist – but I didn’t know what kind. What I did know was that I loved animals, especially ‘cold’ animals – reptiles, amphibians and insects – and that I loved the outdoors. I grew up in the big city of Chicago in the USA, but from the age of six to 20 I spent all my summers at my family’s fishing lodge in the lakes region of north-western Ontario in Canada. There I worked as a waitress, a fishing guide and a house painter and in...
To revive and improve the structure of TAGS as a forum for communication and information sharing amongst individuals and organizations working in Seychelles on sea turtle biology and conservation, ensure standardization of methods and approaches, and disseminate information within and beyond Seychelles to benefit sea turtle conservation.
Revival of the TAGS group and production of a TAGS website will provide the critical first step to making it possible to leverage the funding needed to carry out the other long-term goals of the TAGS group: promoting the conser
Sea turtles have been an important resource to the human inhabitants of Seychelles ever since the islands were first discovered in 1609. Utilisation eventually led to over-exploitation, as turtles were killed primarily to supply the export market. By the mid-1980s the breeding populations of both green and hawksbill turtles had dropped to dangerously low levels in Seychelles and elsewhere. In 1994, after experimenting with closed seasons, quotas, and protection of females only, the Seychelles passed legislation banning the killing of all turtles and trade in their products. Turtle monitoring programs were implemented, starting in the early 1970s, throughout the country and proved to be a highly effective conservation tool.
Today there are almost 20 such programmes operating in the Seychelles. Essentially the same monitoring protocols have been employed at all sites, which makes the data collected comparable for scientific analysis. The highly migratory sea turtles are a resource shared between islands in Seychelles. Individual turtles are known to move between nesting and feeding habitats at more than one island, and even to nest on multiple islands. So there is a need for the various turtle monitoring projects to coordinate their efforts and share information.
Live sea turtles are now being utilised at many sites in Seychelles as a tourist attraction and where they have been protected their numbers are increasing. The turtle conservation programmes in Seychelles can serve as a model for other countries. There is a critical need to publicise this conservation success, and for data collected over so many decades to be shared and analyzed, and the results disseminated both nationally and internationally. Efforts to consolidate national turtle programmes resulted in the formation of TAGS in 2008, however due to a lack of stakeholder capacity and funding, the effectiveness was limited.
The aims and objectives of this project are to:
Did you know that sea turtles can get cancer? Sometimes tumours become so large that they inhibit the turtles swimming, feeding or vision. At the Sea Turtle Hospital, David is using genetics to learn which human anti-cancer drugs can be used to treat turtles.
Since the 1970’s scientists have been using satellite tags to track wildlife, but with GSM technology- the same system that cell phones use- there may be a better, more accurate and more cost effective solution especially for elusive marine animals. Guilia is working on it.
Bimini in the Bahamas is home to large populations of sharks. Mariana will observe whether the presence of those sharks affects how turtles use their habitat and whether more turtles means more sharks. Bimini is undergoing intensive development for tourism, so understanding how animals use their space is critical for their conservation.