After visiting the Turks and Caicos Islands last month, Shyvonne, a huge green sea turtle, whose shell measures 44 inches, headed for St. Croix, where she has been lingering in the waters since she arrived the 1st of the month. Named after the ex-wife of a Grand Turk fisherman, she was tagged as part of the Turks & Caicos Islands Turtle Project as she emerged at Gibbs Cay Sept. 12. Her tag sends a satellite signal every time she surfaces to breathe, so her travels can be mapped.
In the weeks since she was tagged, Shyvonne has traveled more than 600 miles, nesting on Gibbs Cay again — likely her fourth nest of the season — before swimming south and east toward Puerto Rico, skirting along the edges of that island and then coming down to St. Croix. She is the 1st green turtle nesting in the Turks & Caicos to be tracked by satellite.
In the U.S. Virgin Islands, sea turtles and their nests are protected by law, and poaching them or harvesting their eggs is prohibited, said Renata Platenberg, the endangered species coordinator for the Division of Fish and Wildlife at the V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources.
The laws in the Turks and Caicos Islands are not so protective and over the years, the hunting of female turtles on nesting beaches and the collection of eggs has caused the population of female turtles that nest there to dwindle.
Anyone spotting Shyvonne — distinctive because the satellite tracking device is affixed onto her shell with epoxy — should not bother the turtle but report her sighting to the local Sea Turtle Assistance and Rescue Network at 690-0474. That organization will report the sighting to the Turks and Caicos Islands Turtle Project.
Anyone can monitor Shyvonne’s movements on the internet at www.seaturtle.org/tracking/