Giant Leatherback Wins Nonprofit's Sea Turtle Migration Marathon

Date: December 7, 2012
Contact: Rocio Johnson
Sea Turtle Conservancy
(352) 373-6441

GAINESVILLE, FL – Calypso Blue, a giant leatherback from Panama, finished in first place in Sea Turtle Conservancy's (STC) annual Tour de Turtles Migration Marathon. Calypso Blue, sponsored by Atlantis Paradise Island, swam 3,268 miles in 97 days.

Tour de Turtles is a three-month-long, online sea turtle migration-tracking marathon. This year, audiences followed the migration of fifteen turtles on www.tourdeturtles.org, an interactive website which allowed people to track and adopt their favorite sea turtle.

“It was very rewarding to join forces with so many organizations to support sea turtle conservation through the 2012 Tour de Turtles program,” said Michelle Liu, Vice President of Marine Aquarium Operations, Atlantis, Paradise Island. “It was exciting to track the movements of Calypso Blue, the leatherback sea turtle and Atlantis' official swimmer, who traveled almost 4,000 miles during the marathon.”

In addition to the distance competition, each turtle competed in the Causes Challenge. The Causes Challenge encouraged Tour de Turtles visitors to learn more about different threats to sea turtles and ways that people can make a difference for these threatened and endangered species. The turtles' causes ranged from light pollution to beach renourishment and plastic debris.

Not only did Calypso Blue win the migration marathon, but she also won the Causes Challenge, collecting more than $10,000 towards raising awareness about the impacts of commercial trawl fisheries to sea turtles. Atlantis Paradise Island, a resort located in The Bahamas, participated in the Causes Challenge by inviting guests at the hotel to donate toward Calypso Blue's cause. Since 2010, Atlantis has donated more than $27,000 in support of Tour de Turtles.

“It was awe-inspiring that so many of our guests were eager to support these endangered animals,” said Liu. “Through the efforts of the blue project, we will continue to support Sea Turtle Conservancy in the long haul to protect sea turtles from extinction.”

Calypso Blue is now off the northeast coast of the United States and will likely continue her migration to Europe.

In the migration marathon, Karma, another leatherback from Panama sponsored by RFQ-Hub, took second place, swimming 2,986 miles for the cause of commercial longline fisheries. Lady Marmalade, a loggerhead from Florida sponsored by The Body Shop Foundation, came in third, swimming 2,580 miles for the prevention of oil spills.

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About Sea Turtle Conservancy:
Sea Turtle Conservancy is an international nonprofit and the world's oldest marine turtle research and conservation organization. Founded in 1959, Sea Turtle Conservancy is dedicated to ensuring the survival of sea turtles through research, education, advocacy and the protection of natural habitats upon which they depend. Learn more at www.conserveturtles.org.

About Atlantis, Paradise Island
Kerzner International's spectacular Atlantis, Paradise Island rises magically from the turquoise lagoons and blue Atlantic of The Bahamas. This unique, ocean-themed destination offers a variety of guest accommodations and 35 restaurants, bars and lounges to satisfy any palette. The focal point of the unique family entertainment experience at Atlantis is the 20 million gallons of fresh and salt-water pools and lagoons, amazing water adventures, cascading waterfalls, a marine habitat second only to Mother Nature with a remarkable, unparalleled assortment of exhibit lagoons and underwater formations - all located on a seemingly endless stretch of beach that has been called the most beautiful in the world. Learn more at http://www.atlantis.com.