By Dr. Jeff Schmid | Conservancy Environmental Research Manager
Shelley, a Kemp’s ridley turtle from the Ten Thousand Islands we are tracking via satellite telemetry, has gotten itchy flippers and thus far traversed the West Florida coast. She was relatively large for the immature Kemp’s ridleys inhabiting our Southwest Florida feeding grounds and previous satellite telemetry efforts in Charlotte Harbor suggested larger turtles were prone to Wanderlust (German for “desire to travel”).
Shelley has taken this concept to the extreme compared to the other ridleys we are currently tracking and has us wondering where she is heading.
Perhaps she has matured to adulthood and may be transitioning to an adult feeding ground in the northern Gulf of Mexico or, even more intriguing, possibly heading to a nesting beach in the western Gulf. We have 2 records of immature Kemp’s ridleys tagged in the Ten Thousand Islands showing up at the main nesting beach in Mexico 15 years later.
Shelley may very well be on a “Spring Break” journey and filling in the gap between the starting and end points. Join us in tracking Shelley’s day-to-day movements and venture a guess as to her destination. #SWFL #SeaTurtles