Satellite to track turtle journey

Sea Turtle Conservancy has launched the third annual Tour de Turtles, a sea turtle migration marathonfrom Gainsville, Fla. unfolding online at www.tourdeturtles.org.

For three months, Tour de Turtles will follow 10 individual sea turtles, using satellite-tracking technology, as they travel from their nesting beaches to unknown feeding grounds with the goal of being the first turtle to reach the 2,620 km distance.

With as few as one out of 1,000 hatchlings surviving to adulthood, sea turtle conservation efforts must focus on combating human-caused threats through research and education. By tracking sea turtle migrations using satellites, scientists can learn more about these endangered reptiles and the best ways to ensure their protection.     Similar to a human marathon, each turtle will race to increase awareness about a particular “Cause” or threat to sea turtle survival. Utilizing interactive online maps, videos and games, Tour de Turtles will focus on the biology and conservation of sea turtles and their habitats.

‘Tour de Turtles is a wonderful opportunity to involve our guests and cast members in sea turtle conservation activities with the STC,” said Dr. Anne Savage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. “Whether it is teaching our guests visiting Disney’s Vero Beach Resort about the sea turtles nesting on the beach, rehabilitating sick and injured sea turtles, or supporting national and international sea turtle conservation efforts through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, The Walt Disney Company is committed to helping to insure the survival of sea turtles and inspiring our guests to make a difference for wildlife.”

From a dedicated webpage for each swimmer, audiences will be able to learn more about the competitors, the causes they are supporting, and hear mock interviews with the turtles. Each turtle’s distance will be monitored on a regularly-updated Leader Board that will track the turtles’ progress on the Tour de Turtles website.

In addition to watching the marathon, the public can support a competitor’s Cause through online contributions. This secondary competition, known as the Causes Challenge, is designed to see which turtle can generate the most support and awareness.

Tour de Turtles offers everyone an opportunity to get involved. To start tracking these determined competitors, visit www.tourdeturtles.org. And don’t forget, saving sea turtles is a marathon, not a sprint!

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