June 19, 2009

Canadian turtle makes it to Colombia

Canadian researchers in Halifax, Nova Scotia, say they're thrilled a rare leatherback sea turtle they tagged and released last summer turned up in Colombia.

The Canadian Sea Turtle Network tagged 11 of the turtles with satellite transmitters and released them into the Atlantic Ocean last May, spokeswoman Laura Bennett told The Chronicle-Herald.

The transmitters on the other turtles likely fell off, but one on the female named Nueva Esperanza, or new hope, enabled staff to locate her almost 4,000 miles away on a Colombian beach late last month, Bennett said.

She said it took the group some time to locate people in the remote region to make visual confirmation. The Colombian volunteers reported the 4-foot-long turtle had built a nest where eggs are incubating for two months, the report said.

The tracking has ended, as the satellite transmitter was removed from the turtle's shell to corroborate the sighting, Bennett said.