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a sea turtle

The Amazing Turtle Migration

a turtle in the ocean

Pre-dating the dinosaurs, these giant creatures are a part of Canada's wildlife heritage and are now a critically endangered species. The Amazing Turtle Migration is a great way to learn more about our leatherbacks, the threats they face and to identify critical habitat for leatherback seaturtles.

Because they rarely come ashore in Canada, very few Canadians know that thousands of leatherback turtles gather in Canadian waters each summer or that Canada plays a huge role in their survival. During the summer of 2012, scientists will apply satellite tags to female leatherback turtles off the coast of Nova Scotia and the race will get underway in early fall when migration to their southern nesting beaches begins. The goal will be to see which turtle reaches its nesting ground first and 'wins'.

So get ready to learn all about leatherbacks, one of the world's largest reptiles, and how you can help save this endangered species! Follow the real time journey of leatherbacks as they make their way to their southern nesting beaches. And keep your eyes glued to The Amazing Turtle Migration website to follow the journey of your favourite turtle as it makes its way to the finish line.

How Our Project Helps the Environment

The information gathered from this live satellite tracking is important scientific knowledge. This will be used to help determine migration routes and to identify areas where the turtles may run into conflict with human activities. Results of this project will allow scientists to improve their knowledge of the threats these turtles face from fishing gear and large ocean-going vessels. Knowledge of where and when these turtles are most at risk from human activities in Canadian waters is very limited. Information on their movement behaviour and the locations through which they travel will be crucial to establishing management practices for shipping and fishing industries that could significantly reduce those threats.

This work will also help determine the pre-nesting aggregation behaviour of female leatherback turtles as they leave Canadian waters and head to their nesting grounds. This will increase scientific knowledge of where and when threats to these turtles may occur in our national as well as international waters, allowing conservationists to work with stakeholders to establish best practices for reducing the threats to turtles.

Finally, this project will greatly increase the awareness of Canadians about the threats to seaturtles and other marine creatures that live off our coast. Increased public awareness will greatly improve our ability to change the way we use the ocean so that threats to leatherback turtles are reduced. The public impacts on these species from litter and pollution is something we have to address and can minimize through public awareness and engagement. This is vital if we are to conserve marine wildlife for generations to come.