At the end of July we released our sponsored loggerhead turtle, Lulu, as part of Sea Turtle Conservancy's "Tour de Turtles"!
Although she won't know it, Lulu is a very special and important turtle, and the information that she provides is crucial to protecting endangered turtles.
About "Tour de Turtles"
Tour de Turtles is an annual, educational event involving a turtle "race" including around 10 sea turtles, all of different species: Green (honu!), Hawksbill, Loggerhead and Leatherback.
Sea Turtle Conservancy have been conducting sea turtle conservation and research for over 60 years, and in recent years have been able to successfully track around 200 different turtles via this event, with the turtles best interests and welfare at the heart of the event.
(Thanks @turtlegirlk48 for this pic!)
A harmless tracking device is attached to the turtles shell via a special glue, and this will fall off by itself over time or will be removed by STC (Sea Turtle Conservancy).
The information provided by the turtles gives insight into where the sea turtles go to feed, how far and where they swim, how deep they dive, and how fast they swim.
Over this time, STC have learned 4 different foraging behaviours, 6 different foraging regions, seasonal movements based on water temperature, and areas that should be classified as loggerhead critical habitat. This allows them to know which areas need protecting and stronger laws against trawl fishing and boating.
As for the 'race' part, this is just a bit of fun to see which turtle swims the furthest over a 90 day period
We were lucky enough to be invited by STC to go and document Lulu's release over at Melbourne beach in Florida! How beautiful....
We were overwhelmed at the number of people who had come to see her and cheer her on (Lulu can barely hear, so the crowd did not phase her at all!)
Many of the people here had set their alarms super early on their Sunday (she was released at 7.30am) and headed to the beach to witness it, but what makes us super happy is that many of these people were children who were fascinated by the species and subsequently learnt of their plight. We really hope events like this will inspire future generations to take good care of our beaches and oceans.
Lulu was happily relaxing in her crate until the last minute when she spotted the ocean and her instinct kicked in to head straight back to where she belongs. It was an incredible moment and to see a loggerhead turtle up close is truly amazing. She was pretty big, but still small for her species aged at between 25 and 30 years old.
You can watch her video over on our IG, just click below!
Lulu was released at the top of the beach, as this is where she would naturally nest and travel this distance back to the ocean.
And just like that she was off into the Atlantic!
We have been tracking Lulu since she was released and you can follow her journey too over on the Tour de Turtles website
honu's sponsorship of Lulu has further helped to fund the research work of STC and cover the cost of tracking her. We owe all of this to you, our #honucrew, as this extra donation is only possible by you buying our jewellery. THANK YOU!