Among our multiple conservation projects at Koh Tao is our in-situ sea turtle monitoring program which has been ongoing for a couple of years now. The project involves collecting sea turtle photos taken by the community around Koh Tao and identifying them as individuals by facial recognition. This allows us to monitor which turtles are visiting which sites, where they move and their overall health too! Here is one of our new resident turtles we've recorded at Koh Tao! Turtle number 046, 'Scutey' is a resident of the north-west of the island.
Since the last update, the team has been continuing to build and develop the database. She has since completed her thesis we are sure she will play a role in the future of Koh Tao’s turtle monitoring! At the end of 2015 we had recorded around 200 separate observations of 16 Green Turtles and 19 Hawksbills. Now, as we approach our 300th observation, we have data on over 50 different adult turtles that have at some point or another visited Koh Tao over the past 7 years! These include 23 different Green Turtles and 31 Hawksbill Turtles.
In the past year we welcomed several new turtles to the island, including turtle 045 – Tonao, who is a resident of the Three Rocks/Sai Nuan area. We also welcomed back turtles number 023 and 032, Archimedes and Samantha, which had been absent from our records for 1.5 years and 1 year respectively. We also documented turtle moralities, two of which are in the database. One of them, Edmund (Turtle 013), had been a resident of the Hin Wong/Laem Thien area for a number of years.
This just goes to show that not only the data collection effort vital in assessing the populations and movements of our healthy sea turtle population, but also that this documentation can be used for conservation efforts around the island. We look forward to receiving many more observations in the coming months and years, and offer a huge thank you to our many contributors so far!