A Huge, Rare Canadian Turtle Just Swam More Than 12,000 km To Have Babies
She's just over seven feet long and weighs one tonne!
This is a very long journey. A leatherback sea turtle from Canada swam more than 12,000 kilometres to have babies off the coast of South America. Soon she'll make the trip back up north to hang out in Canadian waters.
New data from transmitters is showing just how far these turtles will go from Canada to lay their eggs.
Ruby, a leatherback, was tagged in the ocean just south of Halifax back in July 2019.
In May, she has come ashore in Trinidad to nest in the sand.
Her transmitter shows that she swam 12,891 kilometres to get there after being tagged off the coast of Nova Scotia.
"We're really excited," said Mike James, lead scientist with the sea turtle unit with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, to the CBC.
The data from the recovered tags lets scientists track how the turtles migrate.
Female leatherbacks nest in cycles. So, they lay their eggs then go back into the ocean and come ashore again multiple times.
"Generally they return to the same stretch of coastline and if you're lucky to the same beach on that stretch of coastline," James said.
Ruby is one of the biggest of her kind to ever be captured in Atlantic Canada.
She's just over seven feet long and weighs one tonne.
That's twice as heavy as a grand piano.
Ruby isn't the only leatherback to have been tagged and tracked successfully.
Isabel had quite the journey herself and swam 12,252 kilometres to Trinidad.
According to the CBC, tags on these turtles from Atlantic Canada have only been recovered four times in the last 20 years.
The most recent one happened seven years ago.
Now, two have been recovered in just one week.
"New instruments were deployed on the turtles which is the next chapter," James said.
Those satellite transmitters will allow scientists to track Ruby and Isabel as they come back to Nova Scotia in August.
Atlantic Canada is one of the most populous spots in the North Atlantic during the summer when it comes to these turtles.
That's largely because there's so many jellyfish for them to eat.
Both the Atlantic and Pacific leatherback populations in Canada are endangered.