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Tracking rehabilitated sea turtles online


Sennet was released a month ago after spending more than a year recovering at the Karen Beasley Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Topsail Beach. He was found covered in barnacles and very anemic.

Now, the 15-year-old loggerhead is healthier then ever and he’s having quite the adventure. Volunteers have been able to watch his journey back at sea online thanks to a satellite tracking device that was mounted on his back.

“It gives us some management tools. If we know where they are, we can better determine what can be done to stabilize those populations,” said sea turtle hospital director Jean Beasley.

Sennet has not ventured too far from home. “He went just south of the Cape Fear River. We do know a lot of juvenile and adult turtles hang out there, we now know the sub-adults do too.”

Every time Sennet surfaces, a switch on the transmitter turns on. If a satellite is close enough to pick up his location, a dot is automatically plotted on a map on www.seaturtle.org. The Cape Fear Shoals seems to be his favorite hangout.

In case you’re wondering, Sennet’s contact with humans does not seem to be holding him back in the wild. Beasley said, “What we’re learning is that they forget about us pretty quickly, and they are back to being a wild animal and following the same things that the wild population does.”

Sennet’s transmitter is run on batteries, so once the batteries run out, we’ll no longer be able to track him.

Jean Beasley predicts Sennet will venture to the edge of the Gulf Stream during the cold months, like some of his buddies.

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Story summary

videoExactly one month ago, nine rehabilitated sea turtles were released back into the Atlantic. Sennet, the loggerhead, has a satellite tracking device on his back. We can go online to see where he’s been swimming and what he’s been up to these last four weeks.

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