Turtle Awareness and Protection Studies (TAPS)


2006 Research Update

 

The Turtle Awareness and Protection Studies (TAPS), was initiated in March, 2006 at the Reef House Resort, on Roatan, Honduras. The project was the development of Larry and Carol Stevenson, the Reef House owners, and myself. The Stevensons have seen the need for concerted conservation efforts for marine turtles on the island and began their own conservation by buying back captured hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) and green (Chelonia mydas) juvenile turtles from the local fishermen.

After searching for a marine scientist to work on the turtle project for nearly a year, the Stevensons, their daughter, Ashley, and son-in-law, Barry, and I partnered to begin research on the turtles. We have been working with the Proyecto Manejo Ambientales de Isla de Bahia (PMAIB)


March

We weighed, measured, and photographed a total of 25 juveniles of which 21 were hawksbills and 4 were greens. During this initial trip, each animal received a name and ID number that was painted on the shell.

 

June
With the involvement of local communities, non-governmental organizations (NGO), visitors to Honduras, and people who want to help marine turtles, we hope that our TAPS will result in greater awareness and understanding of the life histories and habitat use of these species, as well as improve their chances of survival throughout their ranges.

 

September
As of September, we were still waiting for permits from the government of Honduras. Up until this point, we have only received interim permits to do preliminary work, including weighing and measuring the animals, inscribing ID numbers on them and performing general health checks.

We continue to work out plans and logistics for several projects and are urging the Ministry of Agriculture and Ranching to issue the permit as soon as possible. In the meantime, we are also doing as much PR and outreach as we can.

Our next, planned expedition will be in March, 2007, when I plan to carry out a pilot project on radio tagging and tracking with 2-3 animals. We trust that the permit issues will be settled by then and we can move forward.

 

 

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