292 Kilometres full of energy
28 July, 2022
On July 20th, the turtle SALINA was returned to the sea after 13 months of rehabilitation at Zoomarine’s Porto d’Abrigo. Only 7 days later, it has already swam 292 kilometres, which means that it is already 239 kilometres from the place where he was returned to the ocean (12 nautical miles, or about 22 kilometres, south of Faro), in a traditional cooperation between Zoomarine and the Portuguese Navy.
Salina’s route is available online, to whom wishes to follow it (www.seaturtle.org/tracking/?tag_id=236274). It shows that, on average, this specimen of the Caretta caretta species is swimming 42 kilometres a day. The transmissions seem to show periods of very active swimming, alternating with periods of rest and/or feeding.
In the last two days, and contrary to past projects (3 turtles in the “Operação Regresso Adiado” on July 2009, and 1 turtle in the “Operação Grande Regresso” on August 2019), Salina decided to cross the Strait of Gibraltar and enter the Mediterranean Sea. Such an incursion could be a mere chance or it could mean that this specimen belongs to a population in the region, so this route could be a “homecoming”.
The KiwiSat Argos equipment, which is expected to remain attached to its shell for about 2 years, continues to collect a lot of data. It has a sensor that determines when it is at the surface – when it locates satellites and download the collected data. If everything goes as planned, the device should have enough battery power for 13 to 15 months of activity, hopefully providing many more details of this chelonian’s path.
The risks to SALINA’s survival will continue to be a reality; but they are part of an autonomous life of a turtle at sea, a place so full of human activity. Our team will remain concerned – but confident!
Go Salina! May those flippers take you as far as you need to go and as your species needs your to. Although further and further away, we are still with you.