City Scientist is on a Turtle Trail!

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Amdeep Sanghera tracking endangered turtles in the Caribbean

A BIRMINGHAM scientist is on a turtle trail – all the way in the Caribbean!

Amdeep Sanghera, dubbed ‘Turtle Man’, has satellite tagged three ‘teenage’ endangered green turtles as part of a Marine Conservation Society (MCS) turtle conservation project off the West Indies. 

And while he watches their progress in the blue seas around the Caribbean – animal lovers across the world can keep updated because for the first time the results of Amdeep’s tagging can be followed online.

Amdeep, from the Moseley area of Birmingham, has been working for MCS in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) in the Caribbean since 2008, running the charity’s satellite tagging programme which monitors the movements of turtles around the Caribbean.

“The turtles were caught with the help of expert local turtle fishermen, Gilbert Jennings and Dave Clare, after which two of them were named,” Amdeep says.

“Gilbert and Dave are amongst many TCI Fishermen who have been working closely with me on the MCS project to develop a new turtle fishery management plan and create laws to improve the sustainability of this traditional fishery.

“We are working towards protection for the important larger and breeding adult turtles currently legally taken by the fishery.”

Previously tagged turtles from TCI have been tracked by MCS and other scientists swimming hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles to feeding grounds. 

 “Teenage turtles spend all their time sea and so we know little about them and there have been very few attempts to track them at this age,” says Amdeep Sanghera, “Now anyone can follow these turtles online as they live their lives at sea miles away from humans – everyone can get involved in scientific discovery as it happens.” 

The first turtle to be tagged in the project was an adult female called Suzie. She surprised everyone by travelling 6,000 kilometres around the Caribbean. Meanwhile four tagged adult hawksbill turtles have stayed in TCI’s waters for almost two years. Their lack of miles, although surprising, showed that these important breeding adults are subject to the TCI turtle fishery all year round, reinforcing the message that theses creatures really do need protection.  

“The exciting thing is that we don’t know what Gilbert, David and Taino will do – they may migrate thousands of kilometres or they may just stay at home like some of the others turtles we have tagged,” says Amdeep. 

Tracking has so far shown that Gilbert and David are sticking together with Taino not far away.  

If you would like to follow Gilbert, David and Taino visit www.mcsuk.org/turtletracking 

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