September 27, 2022

At around 1pm Katie left for the sea

Readers mail….
From Damla Beton….SPOT….

With the permission and cooperation of the Environmental Protection Agency, SPOT has been monitoring the breeding of sea turtles in Alagadi for the last 30 years. During these studies, all mothers who came ashore to lay eggs have been identified by tagging them.

A total of 750 green turtles (Chelonia mydas) and 650 large-headed sea turtles known as Caretta, have each been tagged during this time. That is how we know that sea turtles come to breed on our shores at intervals of 2 to 6 years and can have 3 to 6 nests during the breeding season.

It is such a great pleasure in 2022, to see the return of mothers who have been laying eggs in Alagadi since 1992! We have become so familiar with some of them that just their silhouettes are enough to identify them.

Katie’s track after nesting at Alagadi in 1999 (yellow) and 2003 (red)_

SPOT, has tracked more than 100 sea turtles with satellite transmitters until now. We know that they generally follow the same migration routes to arrive at and leave our shores to go and inhabit the same regions. These are our conclusions after following the same individual several years apart. However, we do not know whether the same individual used the same route and feeding area for 30 years. Thanks to Katie though, we’ll now be able to shed some light on this!

At least 62 years old!

Katie, ID no. G#55, was the 55th green turtle to have been spotted by the SPOT team one night in Alagadi. She was first recorded in 1995 and returned to spawn in Alagadi in 1999, 2003, 2006, 2010, 2015, 2018 and now in 2022. Based on our experiences over many years, we think Katie is at least 62 years old.

“One of the first green turtles to be tracked by satellite in the Mediterranean!”

In fact, Katie was also an important part of the first monitoring studies carried out in the Mediterranean. In 1999 SPOT followed her for the first time from Alagadi as far as the mouth of the river Nile in Egypt. However there was a malfunction in the transmitter then. But, in 2003 we succeeded in tracking her again this time to her feeding grounds in the Sirte bay, off Libya. On 27th July this year, almost 20 years later, we have just started tracking her again. We are excited to see whether or not she will return to Libya again, after all this time.

Should you wish to track her yourself please go to: http://cyprusturtles.org/tracking/

“Katie loved Northern Cyprus and it was as if the turtles were calling her back to return here”

Until she was adopted by the Devlin family, Katie was known simply as G#55. Katie Devlin loved Northern Cyprus very much and after her tragic loss to the family, they adopted G#55 in her name. Now Katie’s every nesting gives great pleasure to those who loved Katie Devlin. It makes our Society very happy to be able to pass on the good news to the family to ease the painful memories in their hearts.

Message from the Devlin family

“Katie absolutely loved Northern Cyprus and visited very often. Everyone was so friendly and sociable that she felt this was her second home. During one of her visits she came to the SPOT headquarters and witnessed a Caretta lay her eggs on the beach. She was fascinated. She kept on talking about the turtle conservation project, followed SPOT’s page on Facebook and was making plans to come back and thought about how to support the project. Sadly, she fell ill and couldn’t make the planned trip. She passed away in 2021. As her family, we wanted to raise money and through SPOT adopt a turtle that was being monitored. We thought this was the best thing we could do to keep Katie’s memory alive. Watching Katie the turtle and following her journeys is very good for our family. We are very happy to have been able to fulfil Katie’s wish.

 We hope you will have a safe journey Katie and we will try to meet you again in Alagadi at the next spawning period.

 The Devlin Family”.

Source (Turkish): North Cyprus Society for the Protection of Turtles – SPOT

Photography: Olkan Ergüler

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