Nesting Beach Monitoring Network
2008 Research Update
August in Punta Raton
In August Steve returned to Tegucigalpa to meet up with his new Masters student, Matthew Ingle, who had come from California to spend a week on the Pacific coast of Honduras. Matt’s work will focus on the genetics of Lepidochelys olivacea along the south coast of the country. Before heading out to the coast, we met with Lidia Salinas, Country Director of ProTECTOR in Honduras at the hospital at Valle de Angeles where she was recuperating from a very bad scooter accident on Roatan. We also met with Cesar Duron, a fourth year student from the National University of Honduras who helped us with tagging through the September off-season. During the four days we spent on the coast, Steve trained both Cesar and Matt on how to tag and measure the turtles. Over the three nights of tagging, we saw several turtles return with tags from last year’s tagging effort. When the training days were finished we returned to Tegucigalpa where Matt went back to California, Cesar returned home, and Steve returned to Roatan. Unlike last year, there have not been any massive rain storms, although the area has been receiving plenty of rain. But, after consulting with ProTECTOR, Herminio and his crew put a temporary hatchery on the crest of the beach, so excessive water could run off down the slope and away from the hatchery. We hope this strategy has worked well and we’ve had another successful hatching season. We won’t know how successful it’s been for a few months to come. At the end of August, Steve returned to California.
October Punta Raton
October saw Steve return to Tegucigalpa to visit Lidia Salinas in the Hospital Valle de Angeles. We had good visits and Lidia has been progressing well with the surgeries that Dr. Raul Schneider has been performing on her leg and hip. Although Steve was unable to get out to Punta Raton as early as anticipated, he was able to negotiate a truck and driver with SERNA. So, on Sunday, October 5, Nixon Rivas and Steve headed out to Punta Raton for several days prior to being joined by Dr. T. Wayne Schwartner, a population modeler working with BIO-WEST, Inc. (Texas), and his colleague, Mike Frisbie. Nixon and Steve worked with a young man from the local village, Eli Hernandez, who was an excellent assistant to the team. Over the four nights prior to picking up Schwartner and Frisbie, we were able to tag several turtles in addition to those tagged in the off-season.
When Schwartner and Frisbie joined us for the remaining three nights, they also investigated the local bird and bat species, and enjoyed helping us tag another few turtles. We had the good pleasure of watching a nester come up early in the morning, and so were able to get some great photos of her, and video of this Olive Ridley covering the nest. Unfortunately, we left a little before hatching was scheduled to begin, so Rivas, Scwartner, and Frisbie were unable to see the hatching.