Satellite tagging a hawksbill

The Ridge to Reef expedition team successfully satellite tagged a critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle on West Snake Caye in Port Honduras Marine Reserve (PHMR) during the early hours of 23rd August 2014.

The team took to the beaches of PHMR at night in search of sea turtle activity.  After multiple fruitless nights of patrols, they finally sighted a female hawksbill returning to the ocean after laying her eggs and attached a satellite tag to the second scute of her shell. The process took four hours and finished at 5am, just in time to sit and watch her enter the water at sunrise. The female was the first hawksbill to be tagged by TIDE so she was aptly named ‘TIDE of HOPE’.  This moment marked the beginning of a journey to learn more about the life and threats of the critically endangered sea turtle.

TIDE of HOPE will provide important migration data for sea turtles nesting in PHMR as we will be able to follow her movements.  This will enable TIDE to highlight the importance of the coastal beaches and foraging areas for endangered sea turtles. Gales Point in the Belize district is one of the most important sea turtle nesting beaches in Belize and several of the sea turtles nesting there also forage in PHMR so it is already of up most importance to protect sea turtles in the reserve.


Hawksbill sea turtles are categorised as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature IUCN.  This means they face a very high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future. Sea turtles are declining rapidly due to threats created by humans; some examples are poaching for meat and eggs; ingesting waste such as plastic bags; drowning after being caught in fishing lines; coastal development disorientating and disrupting hatchlings and nesting mothers. Therefore, any information we can gain about sea turtles movements in PHMR can help us better protect the areas they  visit frequently. This in turn aims to increase sea turtle survival in Belize into future.


We want to thank Dr. Todd Rimkus, Marymount University, ECOMAR and Hawksbill Hope for leading this important project and providing the tag! We are so excited to follow TIDE of HOPE's progress and look forward to returning to West Snake Caye in November to watch her hatchlings emerge. You can follow TIDE of HOPE’s progress too by following the link below.






TIDE of HOPE will provide important migration data for sea turtles nesting in PHMR


Date: August 28, 2014 Author: clarebaranowski
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