COQUINA BEACH, Fla. — A new way of tracking sea turtles is helping scientists learn how to better protect the animal.
Hundreds of turtle lovers went out to Coquina Beach early Monday morning to watch the release of the 250-pound loggerhead turtle named “Esther.”
After laying her eggs on the Anna Maria Island Beach, Sea Turtle Conservancy staff fitted Esther with a GPS device that will help scientists track her moves in the Gulf of Mexico.
The goal is to get people excited about protecting sea turtles and give scientists a better understanding of the animal.
"Sea turtles spend 90% of their lives in the water. They’re only on land for a short amount of time and we don’t know what they’re doing while they’re in the water so it’s important we track them and find out where they’re going, where they’re spending their time, so we can know how to protect those areas," said Lexie Beach with Sea Turtle Conservancy.
Scientists will see where Esther goes for the next 2-5 years. People can also track her moves online.
Esther and the other Tour de Turtles competitors will be tracked for three months using satellite telemetry to record their location and distance traveled. The data will be uploaded to interactive maps on the Tour de Turtles website. The turtle that travels the greatest distance over the three-month period will be announced as the winner of this year’s marathon.
Visit tourdeturtles.org to learn more about Esther and the turtles that are being tracked.