Sentinel Species Research

Satellite Tracking Uncovers Green Turtles’ Ability to Travel Staggering Distances

A recent study focussing on satellite-tracking of green turtles in the Chagos Archipelago showed that turtles can travel longer distances than previously thought.

Eight green turtles were tagged while nesting on a Chagossian beach, of these eight only one did not travel to distant foraging grounds and preferred to stay in the MPA. Some individuals were tracked all the way to the east coast Africa, about 4000km away.

Green Turtles have evolved to undertake these long migrations across our oceans, when travelling they solely rely on their fat reserves. Scientists are still puzzled in the face of their navigation skills as they find small patches of seagrass in our immense oceans. This high mobility of this animal challenges the ability to protect of isolated MPAs like BIOT. Green turtles are, like most sea turtles, threatened with extinction. It is crucial to establish network of MPAs to allow these species to migrate safely as much as possible.

Unfortunately, international cooperation is needed to create these safe corridors between the already existing large MPAs. Achieving this difficult outcome will also ensure the protection of many species whom are now in dire need of it.