|A turtle is prepared for tagging.|
Today we finished inconel tagging the five turtles that will be getting released (date and location is yet to be determined). Before being released, all of the turtles need PIT tags and inconel tags. We blogged previously about PIT tags here. Inconel tags are superalloys that are corrosion and oxidation resistant. Imprinted on the tags are distinct numbers that get reported to the Cooperative Marine Turtle Tagging Program.
Both rear flippers are tagged. The area is cleaned with sterile scrubs in order to prevent any infection. This process is not painful for the turtle, and probably can best be described as the pinch you would feel if getting your ear pierced. We also numb the area with lidocaine prior to application, so there is little chance they will feel any discomfort. It is a very quick process, and the turtles are already back in their tanks swimming and don't even notice their new jewelry!
So if these animals are found again, either on a beach nesting or by some other researcher, the numbers can be tracked and it will show that the turtle underwent rehabilitation here at the New England Aquarium.
We also take measurements, photos, and a final weight of each turtle so we can track progression of the animal over the rehabilitation stay.
Stay tuned for updates and photos of the release of these turtles. We are also planning on satellite tagging Goose to follow the exploits of this turtle out at sea.
~Adam and Kerry