In the last few months, members of the project have been searching the beaches of Saona Island, a protected area off the south-eastern tip of mainland Dominican Republic, looking for female hawksbills coming out of the sea to nest. When a female has finished nesting, she is contained in a wooden corral while a satellite transmitter is glued to her shell. Once the female is back in the sea, the transmitters emit signals when she comes to the surface to breathe, giving her location.
Six female hawksbill turtles have been tagged for this project. Read more about the turtles, and the project team members, here and then find out where they've gone...
© WWF/Marianne Fish. Basemap data - The Nature Conservancy.
Paulina, 11th August 2008, Faro Punta Cana
Paulina was named in honour of Pelagio Paulino (aka "El Negro"; far left in the photo), an artisanal fisherman from Mano Juan, Saona, who has worked at the Saona turtle project since 2005. An important member of the team, he has conducted nesting surveys, in-water surveys, managed a hatchery to reduce egg poaching (with excellent hatching success), been granted his own hatchery to run and has been appointed as a ranger for the Parque Nacional del Este by the Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y recursos Naturales of the Dominican Government. An amazing community leader, he has managed to involve all his family and neighbors in sea turtle conservation, especially nest protection. Always full of energy, humor, and new ideas, he is a constant source of inspiration for the Dominican Republic turtle project.
Adamanay, 19th September 2008, Canto de la Playa
Around the time of European contact Saona island and part of the main island of Hispaniola were inhabited by the Taino people who called the smaller island Adamanay. In 1494, an italian sailor re-named the island Saona after the Italian city of Savona (the v was later dropped). The indigenous name of Adamanay can still be found in some charts for the name of the main settlement on the island, Mano Juan. Saona Island (now part of del Este National Park) and, in particular, its southern coast (with ~40 km of beaches) currently holds the most important hawksbill nesting population remaining in the Dominican Republic and is the main focus of Grupo Jaraga's sea turtle conservation efforts.
Blanquita Turbi, 30th September 2008, Canto de la Playa
Yovalina, 27th October 2008, Faro Punta Cana Beach
Yvonne, 1st November 2008, Caletón Sucio Beach
Mirabal, 22nd December 2008, Playa del Muerto, San Pedro de Macoris