One year and a half after Homerous’ release, the Octopus Foundation went back to Lampedusa last April to assist the turtle rescue center. The goal was to release Hope, a 15kg Caretta caretta. Before setting her free, we glued an Argos GPS tracker to her shell, which allowed to follow her first three months of liberty at sea.
In August of 2017, a fisherman brought Hope to the medical center, in worrying condition. The turtle had swallowed a fishing hook, and her intestine was badly damaged by the line. Luckily, Daniela Freggi and her team were able deliver proper care, and after some time in rehabilitation, Hope had found all her strength back and was ready to be released.
Hope’s tracker stopped emitting on the 21st of July 2018, three months after its activation. The retrieved data showed the turtle’s journey, often swimming against winds and currents. The collected data is important to the rescue center. Indeed, it proves that the surgery techniques have allowed Hope to properly heal and live a normal life in her natural environment. The marine reptile first headed towards the coast of Tunisia, where she stayed for several weeks. Then, following the summer’s warming of the waters, Hope turned around and headed back towards Lampedusa, staying in shallow waters. “Her trajectory surprised us”, admits Daniela. “It brings many questions on marine turtle’s motivation to go in one direction rather than another. Is it the water temperature, the levels of salinity, or the depth? We are working towards answering these questions in the future, partly thanks to Hope. Yet, we still need many more data.”
For Julien Pfyffer, the Octopus Foundation’s founder and president, the release was a powerful moment. “We are delighted to accompany and support Daniela and her team of volunteers to better understand the species of marine turtles. In order to effectively protect the biodiversity, we need to understand the habitants and their interactions. With these types of GPS trackers glued to turtle’s shells, such as Hope and Homerous, we’ll know more about turtle migration in the summer season.”
Since April 2016, the Octopus Foundation has been working alongside the Lampedusa veterinary center. The partnership came in various forms, such as financial support as well as material and logistics support. Thanks to the various actions, the clinic is now equipped with a video microscope, a centrifuge for blood samples and several GPS trackers.