Sea turtles that unite the Mediterranean
A loggerhead sea turtle bearing ARCHELON tags was found in poor condition off the coast of Tunisia last July. The coast guard who found the turtle immediately notified the Rescue Center in Monastir, Tunisia, where it was transported. "It was very thin, full of parasitic organisms and with a buoyancy problem. After intensive care efforts, the turtle is doing well, has started feeding on its own and will soon be released," told us today Olfa Chaieb, director of the Sea Turtle Rescue Center in Tunisia and an old friend of our Society.
The two tags present the codes M8058 and L1178 and with them we searched for more about the turtle’s history. So we found that it was tagged in Zakynthos, after it had laid it’s nest, on 1/7/18, within the framework of ARCHELON's long-term tagging project. We met her nesting again in Zakynthos next year, on 7/18/2019.
This turtle nested for two consecutive years, but did not migrate for breeding in the summer of 2020, and remained in its feeding area in Tunisia, apparently weakened. Annual breeding has high energy costs for loggerhead turtles. One year is not enough for them to accumulate the energy reserves that are necessary for their long-distance migration and reproduction, so they are usually nesting every 2-3 years.
The feeding areas of sea turtles are very important for their survival. With the cooperation of fishermen in Tunisia and the Adriatic, who accidentally caught many turtles marked by ARCHELON and reported it to us, we were first able to identify the areas where the turtles migrate after nesting in Zakynthos. In the following years these areas were confirmed by the use of satellite transmitters placed on turtles in Zakynthos.
We thank Olfa and the staff of the Rescue Center in Tunisia for the good news and the significant efforts they are making for the Mediterranean turtles. We are waiting for the release of this turtle in Tunisia as it will be very important to see it nest again in Zakynthos in the coming years.