Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Saipan Community School students learn about sea turtles

Saipan Community School Education Outreach Event

These photos are of Kindergarten through 8th graders at Saipan Community School enjoying a presentation by the DLNR-DFW Sea Turtle Program staff. They were pretty excited when I told them they could jump online with their school laptops and visit http://www.ihaggan.com/ to see themselves (and most importantly other sea turtle information of course!) So as promised SCS students, here are your classmates smiles...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

DLNR-DFW Sea Turtle Nearshore Surveys

Nearshore capture/tagging surveys draw crowd of observers at Fishing Base boat ramp

It was a bit choppy out on the water today so DLNR-DFW Sea Turtle Program staff decided to measure. tag, and release the turtles captured during morning reef dives in the protected waters at Fishing Base boat ramp, Saipan. Our turtles caught the eyes of several tour guides pulling their boats out of the water and visiting students from Brigham Young University, Honolulu HI. The students, Bobbie Hanohano and Kalie Johnson were in town to present their research on crabs at a conference hosted the past few days on Saipan. Kalie is studying Pea crabs that live as parasites on sea cucumbers while Bobbie is researching Xanthid crabs. They just happened to be at the boat ramp after taking photos on the reef for their BYU professor's field guide when they bumped into our team tagging sea turtles. They were happy to help us release a few juvenile green turtles back into the water and ended up learning about CNMI sea turtles in the process. The Sea Turtle Program staff would like to thank everyone who assisted us today!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tanapag Elementary & Montessori Schools Education Outreach

Reaching Out to Local Schools

On November 22, 2011 CNMI DLNR Sea Turtle Program staff taught Bright Star Montessori School students how to make a sea turtle out of paper plates. Usually at this time of year turkeys are on everyone's minds but for these creative and crafty students, sea turtles were the star of the show! They learned about the different body parts that make up the turtle while they had fun decorating their plates. All 4-5th grade classes at Tanapag Elementary School participated in a presentation provided by DLNR-DFW Sea Turtle Program staff on November 15th. Many students had great questions, one that even stumped turtle staff was how many bones do sea turtles have in their body? Well, we have since found out that just the inner portion of the sea turtles shell is made up of 60 bones (which includes the backbone and the ribs)! We want to thank Tanapag Elementary students for keeping us on our toes...

Monday, October 24, 2011

San Francisco De Borja Parish--Rota Fiesta

The weekend of October 8-9, 2011 sea turtle program staff traveled to Rota for the San Francisco De Borja Parish Fiesta. There we collaborated with Brown Tree Snake program staff and the Fruit Bat biologist to organize a DFW education booth at the Fiesta. This successful event was a first for the sea turtle program and we were greeted warmly by Rota residents and schoolchildren. Freebies such as turtle coloring acitivity books, bat tattoos, and snake stickers were big hits with the kids! Although the rain put a damper on our sign, it didn't stop approximately 100 children from playing the turtle trivia game to win prizes and learn fun facts about sea turtles. We even had one Rota High School student drop by and ask where the school's satellite tagged turtle, Magas was last seen. We want to thank Rota residents for welcoming us and we hope to make this an annual event within the sea turtle program.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Shared International Resource

The satellite tracking project in Saipan was featured as the profile of the month in the Indian Ocean SouthEast Asian (IOSEA) newsletter: Saipan Sea Turtles An Internationally-Shared Resource. Please take a look when you have a chance and feel free to share: http://www.ioseaturtles.org/pom_detail.php?id=114.

Unfortunately we have stopped receiving transmissions from Kumiko - 1st turtle to reach the Philippines, but the other two are still transmitting and updates should be coming soon. Also, it appears that our international exchange goals are beginning to materialize with interest expressed from partners in the Philippines and a short documentary under development by a Japanese film crew currently filming in Saipan.

Needless to say, stay tuned for more...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Track update - Aug 10

This is track update for Aug 10, 2011. It looks like our first turtle, Kumiko, has finally reached the Philippines! We look forward to seeing which foraging habitat she finaly chooses. Our second turtle, Magas, appears to be heading north possibly Japan, although currently east of Taiwan. Our third female, Limwamway, just laid her 9th nest!! Amazing to say the least. She has yet to migrate, but her transmitter appears in good condition (paced after her 4th nesting event) and we await her impending migration; assuming she's done nesting! This season continues to teach us both about the biology of these amazing animals as well as provide valuable insights to their international migrations, connecting the Western Pacific and Asian regions!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Education Outreach event at Wing beach

On July 25, 2011 DLNR Sea Turtle Program staff hosted an education outreach event on Wing Beach for Oleai and San Vicente Elementary School's summer science program and Eco-camp participants. Approximately 200 students witnessed DLNR staff perform a nest inventory and the release of two straggler hatchlings while learning fun facts about sea turtle biology.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Kumiko continues traveling west...

The latest track from Kumiko, at liberty 56 days, and she is still traveling west, perhaps heading towards the Philippines! While the track seems to show a straight line remember we are connecting the dots between transmissions. It is anyone's guess what she does between data points, but her consistent (deliberate) movement west is interesting and telling.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Volunteers assist with nest inventory of Kumiko's 2nd nest

Satellite tagged turtle Kumiko's 2nd nest hatched on July 10, 2011 at Bird Island Beach. CNMI Sea Turtle Program staff performed a nest inventory on July 13th to evaluate hatch and emergence success for this nest. There were 4 hatchlings trapped in the nest by roots and rocks and volunteers helped to release them. The hatch success rate was 82.9% while the emergence success was 76.8%.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Saipan Sea Turtles Featured in Hafadai Magazine

The July 2011 issue of Hafadai magazine, a publication primarily targeting Japanese-speaking tourists, featured recent Saipan sea turtle activities on the cover (image at right), a 'pagelet' on satellite tagging with the table of contents and an article (Hafadai-versity No.36) covers the recent nest hatching at Bird Island.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sea Turtle in Mural on Saipan

A recently completed mural promoting coral reef conservation prominently features a sea turtle. It is located adjacent to the tennis courts at the American Memorial Park. The mural faces one of Saipan's busiest intersections at Middle Road and Navy Hill.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Kumiko is Hauling Tail

Kumiko is now not wasting any time leaving the Mariana Islands and is continuing to head West.
Add caption

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Kumiko leaves Saipan

Kumiko's most recent satellite position reports.
Image courtesy NOAA/George Balazs
Looks like Kumiko is finally on the move!!! Seven nests at Bird Island Beach and she’s on her way…

Monday, June 27, 2011

This weekend was very busy-- upon returning from a week of in-water capture surveys in Rota on Friday night we had the Wing Beach nester return, Saturday night was Magas and Limwamway, and Sunday night was Kumiko.  We had 5 hawksbills captured in Rota in 3 days (we had only captured a total of 6  since 2006!) 

Mark Michael assists with one of  five
Hawksbill Turtles captured during recent
in-water capture surveys on Rota.*
All satellite tagged turtles (and the Wing beach turtle) are safe and ok, their stainless steel wires are intact, however the plastic covering at the base of 2 of them has taken a beating.  I hope they leave soon before the wires are sheered.
Mini TAGS volunteer wows
over one of Kumiko's babies.*

We also did our first nest inventory on Kumiko's first nest the Sunday before we left for Rota and rescued 3 hatchlings while TAGS volunteers watched.  Hatching success for this one was 70.5% and emergence success was 65.4%.

Report Provided by Tammy Summers

*Remember, pictured volunteers were supervised by federally-permitted staff of the DLNR Sea Turtle Program. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Limwamway on her way...

"Limwamway" (beautiful in Carolinian) female green turtle satellite tagged June 15, 2011 at Tank beach. All activities permited via USFWS and NMFS federal permits - this is why folks can get so close! Without a permit one must give turtles space to nest undisturbed. Tank beach has a history of high poaching pressure, so this tagging event is not only a testiment to the CNMI sea turtle program's hard work, but of the community's committment to conservation.

Kagman High School Students and Limwaway, excited for her release...

Kagman High School Marine Biology Club watching tag application

Third sea turtle tagged in CNMI

Kagman High School Students with Limwamway.
Hi all,
I am happy to announce that the 3rd and final sat tag has been deployed (tonite
6/15) on a turtle named Limwamway (beautiful in Carolinian) by Kagman High
School Marine Biology Club members.  Kagman High School is very near to Tank
Beach (where this turtle nested) so it made sense to include the students thatlive so close to this beach in this exciting event (see attached photos)!  KSPNTV news channel was there to capture the occasion and interview the students sostay tuned to the 6:00 news the next few nights.  This turtle was equipped witha larger tag (model TAM 4510) than the other 2 turtles, so her battery life willhopefully last longer than the others allowing for more locations/info to be
gathered.  The tag ID # was 25313, serial #: 646372.
This was nesting event # 4 for Limwamway and the CNMI DLNR Sea Turtle Program wish her safe travels in the near future! Cheers and thanks to everyone who made this project possible,

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Turtle Outreach

While we wait for our turtles to begin their migrations, here a few images of recent outreach efforts...

DLNR staff show school children a juvenile green turtle on Managaha Island

Joe Ruak show the differences between green and hawksbill turtles to school children

Divers and tourist at the right place, right time to observe DLNR field activities and get first hand information

Students of Whispering Palms School campout education outreach event

NOAA Contractor Tammy Summers distributes sea turtle posters and coloring books to Oleai Elementary School (Home of the Turtle) students

June 8 track update

Looks like both turtles have yet to leave CNMI waters. Kumiko remains close to Bird Head beach, and Magas also lingering of southern Laolau bay. We presume both turtles may be intending to nest again, but time will tell... Importantly, however, looks like we may have identified some important inter-nesting habitats.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The next candidate... Limwamway

Limwamway "beautiful" in Carolinian, named by Kagman High School Marine Biology Club, is our next female green turtle that will receive a satellite transmitter after she lays her final nest for the season.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Photos - satelite track deployments

All photos property of CNMI DLNR work allowed under FWS and NMFS permits.

Laulau bay female green turtle released with satellite tag.

Field crew Joe Ruak, Jessy Hapdei, and Tammy Summers.

Great work team!!

Joe Ruak and Jessy Hapdei attaching the tag and recording data.