A mystery

During one of our nightly patrols, our team was very excited to encounter a nesting leatherback with a large Monel flipper tag on one of rear rear flippers.  We often find turtles that were tagged at other beaches in Florida, but this was an especially exciting recapture!

While many leatherbacks in the Caribbean are tagged with the larger Monel (style 1005-49) tags, here in Florida we use a smaller tag made out of Inconel (Style 1005-681) tags.  A scan with our PIT scanners also revealed an encrypted AVID tag embedded in her shoulder. This tag is also different than the typical PIT tag used on Florida’s beaches. This was an exciting find for us and we quickly called our colleagues who we knew to be awake on other beaches at night.  Nobody had any information about her.

We have sent out numerous emails out to colleagues and checked with the Cooperative Marine Turtle Tagging Program at the The Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research (ACCSTR) who coordinates sea turtle tag distribution and maintains a database of sea turtle tags that have been deployed.

What we have learned:

  • Turtle nested in Tortuguero Costa Rica in 2001
  • Turtle nested in Pacuare Nature Reserve in Costa Rica in 2005
  • PIT tag AVID Tag: 084597520
  • Right rear flipper tag: 79783

Unfortunately, our investigation has not uncovered where the AVID PIT tag was applied. If you have any information about this turtle, we would greatly appreciate it. She could have been tagged anywhere!

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