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A “Ping” from Key West


You may recall reading our posts about SCCF’s efforts to track a loggerhead sea turtle they had named Junonia.

She was first encountered in 2016 and had been observed nesting on Sanibel Island three years in a row in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

On June 16, 2020, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation staff fastened her with a satellite transmitter, intended to track her movements to her foraging grounds.

However, less than a month after the tagging — on July 11, 2020 — her transmitter stopped sending locations.  Staff member were disappointed that the small dataset of information up to that point did not provide the sought-after insight into her migration pathway or foraging grounds.

Surprisingly, on September 11, 2021 — a year and two months later — SCCF was delighted to receive a transmission from Junonia, officials reported.

It was assumed the tag had malfunctioned or detached, which eventually occurs with many satellite transmitters several months or years following deployment, SCCF said.

It appears that Junonia has established residency near Key West, which provides useful information when interpreting the toxin concentrations that were measured in her blood.

Junonia is the first loggerhead to be satellite-tagged after nesting on Sanibel.  She is part of a study to learn more about the post-nesting movements, migratory pathways, and foraging grounds of loggerheads that nest on the Gulf Coast of Florida.  Since Junonia was nesting during the 2018 red tide bloom, the data will also contribute to a research project investigating the long-term impacts of red tide events on the health and reproductive success of nesting sea turtles.

To track Junonia for yourself, visit https://www.ocearch.org/tracker/detail/junonia!



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