Ascension : Conservation Weekly
Submitted by The Islander (Conservation Office) 19.01.2012 (Article Archived on 02.02.2012)
We would like to start by thanking the 1AMW Team (see pic) from the RAF and Drew Avery for help with clearing Long Beach of invasive vegetation over the Christmas period.
Contributed by Sam and Nicola Weber, AIG Conservation Turtle Project fieldworkers
We would like to start by thanking the 1AMW Team (see pic) from the RAF and Drew Avery for help with clearing Long Beach of invasive vegetation over the Christmas period. Weeds such as thistles and Nicotina have become more common on many of the Island's beaches in recent years and can obstruct turtle nesting and hatchling emergence. Given the increase in rainfall that we have been experiencing, beaches may need to be cleared more regularly in the future.
Over the past couple of weeks we have attached 40 radio-tags and 3 satellite transmitters to turtles nesting on Long Beach. We will continue to monitor the beach most evenings for the next few months with radio scanning equipment that will allow us to detect when each of our turtles comes back to lay another clutch of eggs. This will allow us to determine the number of clutches laid by each female during her stay at Ascension Island, which is vital for population size estimates. It is generally assumed that Ascension turtles lay between 3-6 clutches in a season but the average number per female has yet to be established. The Conservation Department along with Jacqui Ellick, Drew Avery and other volunteers will continue to count turtle tracks on all the Island’s beaches during the day to allow us to estimate the number of turtles nesting on Ascension Island. Using data collected by Jacqui and the Conservation Department in previous years we can also assess if the population size is changing.
A green turtle on Long Beach with a satellite transmitter (top) and radio-tag (side)
The 3 turtles fitted with satellite tags will have their movements recorded continually for the next 7 months while they rest in the waters of Ascension before heading back to Brazil to feed. These movements will be able to be viewed in almost real-time on www.seaturtle.org. If anybody has any suggestions for their names then please email and let us know and we will get the Conservation Team to pick their favourites!
Turtle tours can now be booked either at the Conservation Office on telephone number 6359, or via the Obsidian Hotel on 6246. You may also email us on the below email addresses:
Please be advised that due to on-going field work the Conservation Office will open from 7.30am -10am during week days. We open as normal on Saturdays, 10am-12noon, signs will be posted on the door when the office is closed.
Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.
Volunteers welcome. Please contact Natasha Williams or Jolene Sim. Ascension Island Conservation Department. Georgetown. Tel: 6359. Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org