Turtle-cam: Conservationists have used mini-cameras for the first time here to study green turtles. *Photo by Simon Jones
Turtle-cam: Conservationists have used mini-cameras for the first time here to study green turtles. *Photo by Simon Jones
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FRIDAY, AUGUST 10: Conservationists have been given a unique ‘turtle’s eye’ view of the world thanks to a pioneering project to protect the species.

For the first time in Bermuda a team of scientists have been able to watch green turtles interact and feed in their natural environment.

The project began at the end of last month and has seen international marine experts join forces with local Conservation Services officers as well as the Bermuda Turtle Project.

Over the last 10 days, mini-cameras have been fitted to the backs of nearly a dozen large turtles at various locations across the island from Ely’s Harbour in Sandys to  Gates Bay in St George’s.

Volunteers from the Bermuda Turtle Project have joined conservation staff to help catch the animals using large nets.

The turtles have been fitted with the state-of-the-art cameras as well as satellite transmitters.

The cameras, which also collect time and depth data, pop to the surface after around 24 hours.

Conservation staff then collect them so the data can be taken off and the equipment re-used.

The smaller satellite transmitters will remain attached to the turtles for longer and provide the researchers with a map of each turtle’s movements during the months ahead.

Exciting

Sarah Manuel, Marine Conservation Officer, told the Bermuda Sun: “It has been very exciting to witness for the first time how turtles in Bermuda interact, feed and behave under the water.

“We have been very careful to ensure that the cameras have only been fitted to large turtles over a certain size.

“We have put a lot back in the water because they were to small to have the cameras put on their back.

“So far everything has gone very well and we are very pleased at the progress we have been making.

“The cameras will allow us to see things that we have never seen before in Bermuda while the time and depth data can be used to help find out the number of turtles we have in the seas around the island.

“The information will also allow us to better understand the relationship between turtles and the sea grass meadows upon which they feed.”

The turtle-tracking project will continue on until next week.

But all the data collected by the cameras will take months to analyze.

Ms Manuel added: “The whole purpose of this project has been to understand these creatures better in order to safeguard their future.

“We have been very fortunate to have help from international experts in this field who have worked across the world as well as the Bermuda Turtle Project and that has been greatly appreciated.”