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Tour de Turtles marathon tracks sea turtle migration across continents

David Godfrey, Executive Director of the Sea Turtle Conservancy

The Sea Turtle Conservancy is the world’s oldest sea turtle research and conservation group and has been tracking sea turtles since the mid-1950s. Its annual Tour de Turtles allows people to follow the marathon migration of four different species of sea turtles that have been tagged with satellite transmitters.

Sea turtles do not nest and feed in the same areas, and at least 90% of a sea turtle's life is spent in the water, making most of their habits unknown without proper tracking. These turtles are highly migratory and travel hundreds or even thousands of miles between the beaches where they lay their eggs and the foraging (feeding) grounds where they spend much of their time at sea.

With the use of the attached satellites, researchers can then visually see where the turtles are, the route they have traveled, and how fast they are generally swimming. A researcher can also determine the habitat characteristics at the turtle’s location.

Beginning on August 1st each year, Tour de Turtles tracks individual sea turtles, for approximately three months, as they leave their respective nesting beaches and race to complete a “turtle” marathon. The Tour de Turtles competitors will swim with the goal of being the turtle to swim the furthest distance during the migration marathon.

We learn more about the Tour de Turtles and the Sea Turtle Conservancy with David Godfrey, Executive Director of the Sea Turtle Conservancy.