Why do we name our turtles?

Many people ask why we bother to give names to our turtles. While it may not seem scientifically necessary, it is actually extremely beneficial. Giving our turtles names gives them a history and a story. More importantly, it helps us remember certain crucial things about them. For example, it is much easier for us to remember that “Zeina” still needs to have a biopsy taken because we weren’t able to get one on her first encounter than it is for us to remember that LLN312 still needs a biopsy. It also helps us remember if a turtle was already sampled. This prevents us from unnecessarily biopsying or sampling a turtle twice. We like to interfere with the natural nesting process as little as possible so it’s important that we know everything that we can about a turtle as soon as we encounter her. This is also the reason that we have mobile apps that provide us with real-time updated information about each animal in the field. We can look up a tag number and get a full history while we’re on the beach. We’re also able to enter all of our encounter information immediately through our phones. Naming our turtles also helps keep the passion in our work. We love the work that we’re doing and it never gets old to sit next to a nesting leatherback, but it draws you in just a little bit more each time you see that a turtle you named for someone special is returning to the nesting beach.smart-bot

Here is a view from our app where a volunteer queried a turtle tag, the application relays real time information back and forth to our crew in the field.

 

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