Samsambo Beach, Suriname
Flipper/pit tag number
0664 1247 (new pit tag)
::: Bad News :::
After being released, Kawana stayed close to the nesting beach and nested again on the morning of July 5th. She continue to stay close offshore of the nesting grounds in both Suriname and French Guiana, most likely planning on nesting.
Unfortunately, she did not have the chance. Twenty days after being released, it appears that Kawana was caught in a fisherman's gillnet and drown just offshore of the Marowijne River mouth between Suriname and French Guiana.
We believe that Kawana was killed by a gillnet based upon the usual diving profile sent by the transmitter, suggesting that the turtle remained for a long period of time underwater, which is in most of the case correlated with an interaction with a fishing gear. Her body, with her transmitter still attached, was found washed ashore on the Suriname side of the river mouth with severe shoulder injuries, the "signature" of an interaction with a gillnet.
Drifting gillnet is a severe threat for leatherback survival in the Guianas, and Kawana death has just demonstrated this once more and is one reason why leatherbacks are critically endangered. The other Suriname leatherback, Aïtkanti, was much more lucky; after having been successful in avoiding the coastal gillnets, she is now more than 2,500 km away from Suriname in the East Atlantic.