Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Turtle weathers Isabel

Signal relieves aquarium staff

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Shellby the sea turtle is safe. For the past week, the female loggerhead sea turtle, tagged and monitored by the Newport Aquarium, had been missing off the North Carolina coast. Aquarium staff feared Shellby had become a victim of Hurricane Isabel.

On Monday, Shellby signaled that she'd survived. A tracking device attached to her shell put Shellby just off the coast of Virginia Beach, Va., near the North Carolina border.

"We were absolutely relieved," said aquarium spokeswoman Jill Isaacs. in these turtles emotionally."

As part of its exhibit Turtles - Journey of Survival, the Newport Aquarium partnered with the Bald Head Island Conservancy, Marine Turtle Research Group and North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission to put satellite transmitters on two female loggerhead sea turtles in July.

Scientists and researchers use the information to help determine why loggerhead sea turtles have been threatened in recent decades.

Timber, Shellby's fellow nester, also weathered the storm and is now in the Cape May area, Isaacs said. Schoolchildren and researchers are tracking the turtles' progress at www.seaturtle.org.

Tracking the turtles

For a direct link to the loggerhead sea turtles, visit:

Timber: http://www.seaturtle.org/tracking/index/shtml?tag id=29053&full=1

Shellby: http://www.seaturtle.org/tracking/index.shtml?tag id=29052&full=1

For information on the Newport Aquarium, visit www.newportaquarium.com or call (859) 261-7444.


E-mail cschroeder@enquirer.com

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