In early July we received a message from colleagues working along Central American nesting beaches that an adult female olive ridley sea turtle I captured on September 26, 2006 off the coast of El Salvador was re-sighted nesting on Playa Chacocente, a beach inside the Rio Escalante-Chacocente Wildlife Refuge in Nicaragua.
Not only is it exciting to learn that this turtle is healthy and reproducing, but its also interesting to see that six years later she is nesting not too far from where she was captured in 2006. It’s hard to infer much from two data points over the course of six years, but this kind of anecdotal information augments other data we have been collecting, and it helps us form hypotheses as to the home ranges and migratory behavior of this species. I originally hand-captured this turtle (pictured below) as part of a multi-disciplinary NOAA oceanographic research cruise called STAR.
Although still nothing close to historical abundances, the Pacific olive ridley is doing relatively well off the coast of Central America — a region known as the eastern tropical Pacific. This oceanographically dynamic area is the study region I’m focusing on for my PhD dissertation work. Positive notes from the field like this one will help guide future at-sea sampling efforts.