Leatherback Turtles: Solomon Islands

In December 2006, scientists from the Marine Turtle Group at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries Service, joined local biologists from The Solomon Islands Government, The Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund on an expedition to the remote areas of the Solomon Islands where the local communities have become engaged in leatherback conservation. This  expedition was part of an initiative to identify nesting beaches, estimate the population size, identify critical marine habitat and discover migratory routes of leatherback turtles. As part of the work, researchers attach satellite transmitters on nesting females to determine whether individuals swim over to beaches on neighboring islands to lay additional clutches of eggs during a nesting season.

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Solomon Islands Part 1Solomon Islands Leatherback Turtles I: Sasakolo Beach

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The Solomon Islands leatherback turtle expedition begins at Sasakolo Beach on Santa Isabel Island. Team members explain the purpose of the research, meet local colleagues, and discuss the leatherback turtle conservation and monitoring initiative in the Solomon Islands.

Solomon Islands Part 2Solomon Islands Leatherback Turtles II: The Large Turtles of Litoghahira Beach

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The team prepares to attach a satellite-linked transmitter to a leatherback turtle at Litoghahira Beach on Santa Isabel Island. Several of the leatherbacks nesting on this beach are unusually large, highlighting the importance of beach monitoring data.

Solomon Islands Part 3Solomon Islands Leatherback Turtles III: Attaching a Satellite-linked Transmitter

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The team attaches a satellite-linked transmitter and a Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT tag) to a leatherback turtle at Litoghahira Beach on Santa Isabel Island. A Solomon Islands biologist expresses the benefits of collaboration with NOAA scientists.

Solomon Islands Part 4Solomon Islands Leatherback Turtles IV: Community-based Conservation

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The team visits Baniata Village at Rendova Island. Beaches adjacent to this village once supported a large leatherback nesting population. Today, a community-based conservation and monitoring program is working to restore leatherbacks to these beaches.

Last modified: 2/5/2015