Turkish sea turtle conquers the Mediterranean in two years of travel

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Equipped with a tracking device and released into the sea from the Turkish coast two years ago, “Tuba”, as his trackers call him, has turned out to be an enthusiastic tourist. Satellite tracking of the loggerhead turtle, a species also known as Caretta caretta, shows the middle-aged animal abandoned by seven countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, covering a distance of 12,000 kilometers (7,456 miles) .

The animal, believed to be between 25 and 30 years old, was in the care of academics and activists from the Sea Turtle Search, Rescue and Rehabilitation Center (DEKAMER) in Dalyan, a district in the southwest of the province. of MuÄŸla, which is an important breeding ground for turtles. It was among the first turtles to be fitted with a tracking device attached to its shell and has the distinction of being the turtle that DEKAMER staff have watched the longest. The centre’s website allows live tracking of the animal on a map.

Tuba’s journey took her to Greece, Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Montenegro, Croatia and Malta. It seems that she is traveling in a rough circle across the Adriatic. So far, she has not returned to Turkey.

A map showing the movements of Tuba, the loggerhead turtle. (Photo AA)

Doğan Sözbilen, scientific coordinator at DEKAMER, said the sea is a long-term hotbed but also the greatest threat to endangered sea turtles. The center follows them from their nesting place on the Turkish coast throughout their journey across the Mediterranean. Recently, three loggerhead turtles and one green turtle were fitted with spotting devices. Overall, the number of turtles monitored stands at 18, although the total will reach 63 this year, he told the Anadolu Agency (AA) on Thursday.

Monitoring turtles provides researchers with information about their habits, from their feeding grounds to the potential challenges they face in reaching that feeding ground as well as their migration route.

Sözbilen said they were pleased with the publicity Tuba received, highlighting the more than 5 million views of the live mapping of his trip, which raised awareness of the condition of the loggerhead turtles. “Some turtles disappear from the tracking system sometimes in two months and with Tuba, it’s been two years. Turtles typically return to their nesting grounds every two to three years. If she can come back here and the device’s battery doesn’t die, her travel itinerary will give us some valuable insight, ”he said. He also pointed out that Tuba stood out from other turtles because it preferred open water to swimming near the coast.

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