Turtle Tracker: Caribbean Leatherback Tracking & Conservation Project

Sea Turtle Conservancy
In 2003 the Sea Turtle Conservancy began to study the migration patterns of critically endangered leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) nesting along the Caribbean coasts of Costa Rica and Panama. The study will reveal important information about the turtle's migratory behavior, which will help both conservationists and natural resource managers to improve protection efforts for this endangered species.

The satellite transmitter attached to each leatherback sends signals to orbiting satellites each time the turtles surface to breath. The data will be collected and downloaded to STC researchers. Educational migration maps will show the best location points of the turtle's movements and locations. This will allow interested persons all over the world to watch along as researchers discover where the giant leatherback turtles travel after nesting. Through STC's Sea Turtle Migration-Tracking Education Program, the public is invited to watch along on the Internet as we learn more about these amazing animals.

For more information on sea turtles, check out the Sea Turtles Information section of our website.

Click on the turtle's name to see a map of its movements.

2013: During the end of May, STC attached satellite transmitters to the backs of leatherback sea turtles nesting on STC's research and monitoring sites in Panama as part of STC's Panama Hawksbill and Leatherback Research and Conservation Program.

CALYPSO BLUE III - Calypso Blue III is an adult female leatherback sea turtle encountered nesting on May 27, 2014, on Soropta Beach, Panama. She measured 144.6 cm in curved carapace (shell) length. Calypso Blue III was named by her sponsor, Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island, Bahamas.

2014 Sponsors:
Atlantis ResortTurtle & Hughes, Inc.

2013: During the end of May, STC attached satellite transmitters to the backs of leatherback sea turtles nesting on STC's new research and monitoring site at Soropta Beach, Panama as part of STC's Panama Hawksbill and Leatherback Research and Conservation Program.

CALYPSO BLUE II - Calypso Blue II is an adult female leatherback sea turtle encountered nesting on May 26, 2013, on Soropta Beach, Panama. She measured 150.9 cm in curved carapace (shell) length and 114.3 cm curved carapace width. Calypso Blue II was named by her sponsor, Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island, Bahamas.

PANAMA JACKIE - Panama Jackie is an adult female leatherback sea turtle encountered nesting on May 25, 2013, on Soropta Beach, Panama. She measured 133.3 cm in curved carapace (shell) length and 103.4 cm curved carapace width. She was first flipper tagged on May 6, 2010 and was seen nesting a second time in 2010 on May 14.

2013 Sponsor:
Atlantis Resort

2012: During the end of May and the start of June, STC attached satellite transmitters to the backs of leatherback sea turtles from Bluff Beach and Chiriquí Beach, Panama as part of STC's Panama Hawksbill and Leatherback Research and Conservation Program.

KARMA - Karma is an adult female leatherback sea turtle encountered nesting on May 31, 2012, on Chiriquí Beach, Panama. She measured 158.0 cm in curved carapace (shell) length and 111.0 cm curved carapace width. Karma was named by her sponsor, RFQ-hub.

SAILA - Saila is an adult female leatherback sea turtle encountered nesting on May 31, 2012, on Chiriquí Beach, Panama. She measured 159.3 cm in curved carapace (shell) length and 112.5 cm curved carapace width. She laid a nest with 82 eggs. Saila was named by her sponsor, Casa Tortuga.

CALYPSO BLUE - Calypso Blue is an adult female leatherback sea turtle encountered nesting on Bluff Beach, in Panama on the night of May 28, 2012. She measured 150.9 cm in curved carapace (shell) length and 112.5 cm curved carapace width. She had been flipper tagged while nesting in a previous year. Calypso Blue was named by her sponsor, Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island, Bahamas.

2012 Sponsors:
Casa Tortuga Atlantis Resort RFQ-hub


2011: During the end of May and the start of June, STC attached satellite transmitters to the backs of leatherback sea turtles from Chiriquí Beach, Panama as part of STC's Chiriquí Beach Hawksbill and Leatherback Research and Conservation Program. In addition, in cooperation with the Puerto Rican Department of Natural Resources and Amigos Tortuguas Marinas, for a second year, STC attached a satellite transmitter to a leatherback from Puerto Rico.

CRYSTAL - Crystal is an adult female leatherback sea turtle encountered nesting on May 27, 2011, on Chiriquí Beach in Panama. She measured 159 cm in curved carapace (shell) length and 113 cm curved carapace width. She was first observered by STC researchers nesting in the 2009 season.

GROOVE - Groove is an adult female leatherback sea turtle encountered nesting on May 27, 2011, on Chiriquí Beach in Panama. She measured 164 cm in curved carapace (shell) length and 115 cm curved carapace width. She was first observered by STC researchers nesting earlier in the 2004 season. She was also seen during the 2006 nesting season.

SHELLE - Shelle is an adult female leatherback sea turtle encountered nesting on Chiriquí Beach in Panama. She measured 162 cm in curved carapace (shell) length.

ATAMAR - Atamar is an adult female leatherback sea turtle encountered nesting on May 12, 2010, on Maunabo Beach, Puerto Rico in cooperation with Departamento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientales and Amigos Tortuguas Marinas. She measured 160 cm in curved carapace (shell) length and 116 cm in curved carapace width.

2011 Sponsors:
Casa Tortuga Atlantis Resort Grooveshark.com


2010: During the end of May and the start of June, through funding from Casa Tortuga, STC attached satellite transmitters to the backs of leatherback sea turtles from Chiriquí Beach, Panama as part of STC's Chiriquí Beach Hawksbill and Leatherback Research and Conservation Program. In addition, in cooperation with the Puerto Rican Department of Natural Resources , STC attached a satellite transmitter to a leatherback from Puerto Rico.

DAWN - Dawn is an adult female leatherback sea turtle encountered nesting on June 5, 2010, in Zone 7 on Chiriquí Beach in Panama. She measured 145.5 cm in curved carapace (shell) length, smaller than average for a female leatherback that nests on Chiriquí Beach. She was first observered by STC researchers nesting earlier in the 2010 season. Dawn was named by her sponsor, Casa Tortuga.

MELIDI - Melidi is an adult female leatherback sea turtle encountered nesting on June 4, 2010, on Chiriquí Beach in Panama. She measured 136.2 cm in curved carapace (shell) length, smaller than average for a female leatherback that nests on Chiriquí Beach. She was first observered by STC researchers nesting earlier in the 2010 season. Melidi was named by the local turtle monitors.

BIMINI - Bimini is an adult female leatherback sea turtle encountered nesting on June 12, 2010, on Luquillo-Fajardo Beach, Puerto Rico in cooperation with Departamento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientales. She measured 166.6 cm in curved carapace (shell) length. Bimini was named by her sponsor, Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas.

2010 Sponsors:
Casa Tortuga Atlantis Resort


2009: During the end of May and the start of June, through funding from Casa Tortuga, the InterContinental Hotel & Resorts - San Juan, and the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, satellite transmitters were attached to the backs of leatherback sea turtles after nesting on Chiriquí Beach, Panama.

LUNA - Luna is an adult female leatherback sea turtle encountered nesting on May 31, 2009, in Zone 6 on Chiriquí Beach in Panama. She measured 157 cm in curved carapace (shell) length, larger than average for a female leatherback that nests on Chiriquí Beach. She was first observered by STC researchers nesting in 2003. Luna was named by the transmitter sponsor, Casa Tortuga.
Update: Luna has been seen nesting at Chiriquí Beach during the start of the 2011 nesting season. We were all happy to see her again!

NAYA - Naya is an adult female leatherback sea turtle encountered nesting on June 1, 2009, in Zone 6 on Chiriquí Beach in Panama. She measured 152.5 cm in curved carapace (shell) length, smaller than average for a female leatherback that nests on Chiriquí Beach. She was first observered by STCresearchers nesting in 2002, and observered nesting again in 2004. A harness with a satellite transmitter was applied after nesting. Naya, which means "Earth" in the native Taino language, was named by the transmitter sponsor, InterContinental Hotel & Resorts - San Juan.

2009 Sponsors:
Casa Tortuga InterContinental Resort


2008: During the first week of June, through funding from Casa Tortuga, The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, CT and the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, satellite transmitters were attached to the backs of leatherback sea turtles after nesting on Chiriquí Beach, Panama.

MARITIME - Maritime is an adult leatherback sea turtle that was encountered nesting on June 9, 2008, in Zone 2 on Chiriquí Beach in Panama. Named "Yessica" (pronounced "Jessica") by the local turtle monitors, she measured 157.2 cm in curved carapace (shell) length, which is larger than the average size (152 cm), and 112.3 cm curved carapace width. A harness with a satellite transmitter was applied after she finished nesting. Maritime was named by the transmitter sponsor, The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, CT.

MILLANA - Millana is an adult female leatherback sea turtle encountered nesting on June 8, 2008, in Zone 4 on Chiriquí Beach in Panama. Named "Delfina" by the local turtle monitors, she measured 151.3 cm in curved carapace (shell) length and 106.1 cm curved carapace width, an average size for female leatherbacks seen on Chiriquí Beach. A harness with a satellite transmitter was applied after nesting. Millana was named by the transmitter sponsor, Casa Tortuga.

2008 Sponsors:
Casa Tortuga The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk


2007: During the last week of May, through funding from BRUNNEN and the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund, satellite transmitters were attached to the backs of leatherback sea turtles after nesting on Chiriquí Beach, Panama.

JAMUR - Jamur is an adult female leatherback sea turtle encountered nesting on May 29, 2007, in Zone 9 on Chiriquí Beach in Panama. She measured 151.4 cm in curved carapace (shell) length, close to average size (152 cm) for female leatherbacks seen on Chiriquí Beach, but she was much wider than average at 113 cm. She had first been flipper tagged with metal flipper tags in 2004. A harness with a satellite transmitter was applied after nesting. Jamur was named by the transmitter sponsor, BRUNNEN.

CHOROEÜO - Choroeüo (pronounced "cho-ro-guro"), is an adult leatherback sea turtle that was encountered nesting on May 30, 2007, in Zone 5 on Chiriquí Beach in Panama. Her name means "watched by many eyes" in the local tribal language. She measured 157.2 cm in curved carapace (shell) length which is larger than the average size (152 cm). Choreüo had first been encountered nesting and was flipper tagged with Monel metal tags earlier in the season on Chiriquí Beach on April 3. A harness with a satellite transmitter was applied after she finished nesting. Choroeüo transmitter was funded by a grant from the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund.


2006: During the second week of June, through funding from The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, CT, the WWF Tortugas Marinas Program, and the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund, satellite transmitters were attached to the backs of critically endangered leatherback sea turtles after nesting on Chiriquí Beach, Panama.

RICKIE - Rickie is an adult female leatherback sea turtle encountered nesting on June 15, 2006, in Zone 2 on Chiriquí Beach in Panama. She measured 150 cm in curved carapace (shell) length, slightly smaller than the average leatherback female seen on Chiriquí Beach. She had first been flipper tagged with metal flipper tags at Long Beach, Panama on April 20, 2006. She then nested two more times at Long Beach. She then nested once at Chiriquí Beach previous to June 15th. A harness with a satellite transmitter was applied after nesting. Rickie was named by the transmitter sponsor, The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, CT.

IBÉLICE (aka Ibé Zaju) - Ibélice is an adult female leatherback sea turtle that was encountered nesting on June 16, 2006, in Zone 4 on Chiriquí Beach in Panama. She measured 156.1 cm in curved carapace (shell) length which is slightly larger than the average size (152 cm). Ibélice had first been encountered nesting and was flipper tagged with Monel metal tags on Chiriquí Beach in 2001. Since then she had lost one of her flipper tags and was retagged earlier in 2006 while nesting on Long Beach, Panama, located about 70 km north, and had also been seen earlier during the 2005 season. A harness with a satellite transmitter was applied after she finished nesting. Ibélice's transmitter was funded by grants from the WWF Tortugas Marinas Program and the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund.


2005: During the first week of June, through funding from Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay and a grant from the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund, satellite transmitters were attached to the backs of criticaly endangered leatherback sea turtles after nesting on Chiriquí Beach, Panama.

UNSULI FERMINA - Fermina is an adult female leatherback sea turtle that was encountered nesting on June 18, 2005, in Zone 3 on Chiriquí Beach in Panama. She measured 163 cm in curved carapace (shell) length, larger than the average leatherback female seen on Chiriqui Beach. She had already been flipper tagged with metal flipper tags at Chiriquí Beach earlier during the 2005 nesting season. A harness with a satellite transmitter was applied after she finished laying 72 normal eggs and 44 yolkless eggs. Unsuli Fermina was named by a team of beach monitors working with STC in Rio Cana. Fermina's transmitter was funded by a grant from the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund.

SHELLDON - Shelldon is an adult female leatherback sea turtle that was encountered nesting on June 14, 2005, in Zone 3 on Chiriquí Beach in Panama. She measured 164.2 cm in curved carapace (shell) length which is larger than the average size (152 cm). Shelldon had already been flipper tagged with Monel metal flipper tags on Chiriquí Beach during the 2003 nesting season, and had also been seen earlier during the 2005 season. A harness with a satellite transmitter was applied after she finished laying 88 eggs and 20 yolkless eggs. The turtle was named by the transmitter sponsor, Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay.

IDUN - Idun (pronounced "e-den") is an adult female leatherback sea turtle. She was encountered nesting on June 17, 2005, in Zone 3 on Chiriquí Beach in Panama. She measured 152 cm in curved carapace (shell) length. Idun had not previously been encountered on this beach and did not have flipper id tags. A harness with a satellite transmitter was applied after she finished laying 52 eggs. Idun's transmitter was sponsored by WWF-International, Nokia and WWF-United States.

CRISTINA - Cristina is an adult female leatherback sea turtle. She was encountered nesting on June 18, 2005, in Zone 3 on Chiriquí Beach in Panama. She measured 152 cm in curved carapace (shell) length, the same as leatherback female "Idun". Cristina had already been flipper tagged with metal flipper tags at Chiriquí Beach during the 2003 nesting season, and had also been seen on Chiriqui Beach earlier during the 2005 season. A harness with a satellite transmitter was applied after she finished laying 70 normal eggs and 8 yolkless eggs. Cristina's transmitter was sponsored by WWF-International, Nokia and WWF-United States.

ROAMIN' ROMANA - Romana is an adult female leatherback turtle and was encountered nesting on the night of July 7, 2005, in Zone 3 on Chiriquí Beach in Panama. She measured 152 cm in carapace length and 103.7 cm in carapace width. She carried two metal flipper tags, one applied during the 2002 nesting season and the other applied earlier during the 2005 nesting season at Chiriquí Beach. A harness with a satellite transmitter was applied after she finished laying 67 normal eggs and 45 yolkless eggs. Roamin' Romana was named by the Roman School in Washington D.C., which provided the funds for her satellite transmitter.

View maps of all the leatherbacks being tracked through STC's cooperative educational project with the World Wildlife Fund, Tracking the Movement of Leatherbacks in the Atlantic.

2004: During the last week of May, through funding from British Embassy - San Jose, Costa Rica, Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay, the National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD, and PADI Project Aware, satellite transmitters were attached to the backs of criticaly endangered leatherback sea turtles after nesting on the Caribbean beaches of Tortuguero and Gandoca, Costa Rica.

BRITANNIA - Britannia is an adult female leatherback sea turtle and was encountered nesting on May 27, 2004, at mile 16 4/8 (near Jalova) of the Tortuguero beach. She measured 143.5 cm in curved carapace (shell) length, small for a leatherback. She had already been flipper tagged with metal id tags at the Pacuare Nature Reserve, south of Tortuguero, on March 29, 2001. She had also been seen earlier this season nesting in Tortuguero on April 12, 2004. A leatherback harness with a satellite transmitter was applied after she finished nesting. Britannia's transmitter was funded by the British Embassy - San Jose, Costa Rica.

MARINA - Marina is an adult female leatherback sea turtle and was encountered nesting on May 26, 2004, at mile 16 2/8 (near Jalova) of the Tortuguero beach. She measured 160 cm in curved carapace (shell) length and was previously flipper tagged on April 13, 1996. She was seen again by CCC researchers on April 11, 1998 and then again on March 25, 2002. A leatherback harness with a satellite transmitter was applied after she finished nesting. Marina's transmitter was funded by the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay.

PURRUJA (also known as "Purra") - Purruja is an adult female leatherback sea turtle that was encountered nesting near marker 48 on the morning of May 30, 2004, in Gandoca Nature Reserve, Costa Rica (near the border with Panama). She measured 163 cm in curved carapace (shell) length and had been previously flipper tagged with metal id tags VA2121 and V1920. A leatherback harness with a satellite transmitter was applied after she finished nesting. The leatherback project at the Gandoca Reserve is coodinated by ANAI. Purruja's transmitter was funded by the National Aquarium in Baltimore and PADI Project Aware.


2003: The first year of this project was a cooperative effort between Caribbean Conservation Corporation, Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute, and University of Central Florida. The satellite transmitters and attachment harnesses were funded and supplied by Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute. Satellite attachment training was provided by researchers with the University of Central Florida. The harnesses and satellite transmitters were attached by Caribbean Conservation Corporation staff in Tortuguero, Costa Rica.

CHICA TICA - Chica Tica ("Costa Rican Girl") is an adult female leatherback sea turtle and was encountered nesting on June 7, 2003, at mile 17 (near Jalova) of the Tortuguero beach. She measured 138.5 cm in curved carapace (shell) length, small for a leatherback. She had already been flipper tagged with metal id tags VA1784 and VA1785 at the Pacuare Nature Reserve, about 12 miles south of Tortuguero, on April 9, 2003. A leatherback harness with a satellite transmitter was applied after she finished nesting.

UPDATE: Chica Tica returned to nest on April 3, 2005, almost two years after being attached with a satellite transmitter & harness. She successfully laid 77 eggs on a beach just south of Tortuguero, Costa Rica. Her transmitter harness was removed after she nested.

FLORA - Flora ("Flower") is an adult female leatherback sea turtle and was encountered nesting on June 5, 2003, at mile 17 (near Jalova) of the Tortuguero beach. She measured 155 cm in curved carapace (shell) length and was flipper tagged, with metal id tags VA2872 and VA2873, the same night. A leatherback harness with a satellite transmitter was applied after she finished nesting.