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Tracking the journey of sea turtles

July 30, 2012 — Crowds gather in Florida to bid two sea turtles farewell. Jerry Hume explains why the Tour de Turtles is important.

The turtles were released with transponders on their backs
The turtles were released with transponders on their backs

"We believe that saving sea turtles is a marathon, not a sprint," says  David Godfrey of the Sea Turtle Conservancy.   

These two loggerhead turtles, Pirate Patty and Lady Marmalade, were caught here near their nest on Melbourne beach.

Fitted with the latest technology. The transponder on Pirate Patty, here, can last up to two years. Every time the loggerhead surfaces, it'll send a signal to a satellite, where you can then track it on your home computer. 

They'll be monitored for the next three months. This all coincides with the end of nesting season, and the beginning of what can be a long migration. The tour de turtles is put on by the sea turtle conservancy, not just to race turtles, but to learn more about their migration, because not a lot is known about why and where they go. Some head to the northeast.Others go south to the Bahamas.

"It's critical that we understand everything about their life histories, when they leave this area, because we need to try to protect them, not only when they're on the beach and their nesting habitat, but wherever they're going to forage and feed, and the routes they take to get there," Godfrey explains. 

And once they got a better look at the ocean, and some support from the hundreds on the beach, these two had no problem finding their way and beginning the trek. 

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