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Title: Marine Turtle Tagging: A Manual of Recommended Practices, Revised Edition. Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST) Technical Report No. 2.
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Language: English
Creator: Eckert, Karen L. and Jennifer Beggs
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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
    Preface
        Page 1
    Acknowledgement
        Page 2
    Table of Contents
        Page 3
    List of Figures
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Overview
        Page 7
    Before you begin
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
    Tagging protocols
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
    Record-keeping
        Page 26
    Tag recovery: Returning a tag to the MTTC
        Page 27
    Literature cited
        Page 28
        Page 29
    Appendix A. Applying for tags from the MTTC
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
    Appendix B. Flipper tag manufacturers
        Page 34
    Appendix C. Fibropapilloma disease: What to do with a fibropapilloma-bearing sea turtle
        Page 35
        Page 36
    Appendix D. Selected peer-reviewed literature on sea turtle tagging
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
    Back Cover
        Page 41
Full Text
















MARINE TURTLE TAGGING

A Manual of Recommended Practices



Prepared by the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle
Conservation Network (WIDECAST)




WIDECAST Technical Report No. 2
Revised Edition
2006


Turtl, ,











E WIDECAST
Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network









cOF n V



For bibliographic purposes, this document should be cited as:
Eckert, Karen L. and Jennifer Beggs. 2006. Marine Turtle Tagging: A Manual of
Recommended Practices. WIDECAST Technical Report No. 2. Revised Edition.
Beaufort, North Carolina. 40 pp.

ISSN: 1930-3025

Copies of this publication may be obtained from:
Dr. Julia A. Horrocks
Coordinator
WIDECAST Marine Turtle Tagging Centre
University of the West Indies-Cave Hill Campus
P. O. Box 64, Bridgetown, Barbados
Tel: (246) 417-4320 / Fax: -4325
horrocks@uwichill.edu.bb
www.barbadosseaturtles.org








-e Turte






of the We'


Prepared by the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle
Conservation Network (WIDECAST)


Karen L. Eckert
Executive Director, WIDECAST

Jennifer Beggs
Database Manager, Barbados Sea Turtle Project


2006
Revised Edition


MARINE TURTLE TAGGING

A Manual of Recommended Practices









PREFACE AND INTENT


For more than two decades the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network
(WIDECAST), with Country Coordinators in more than 40 Caribbean States and territories, has
linked scientists, conservationists, resource managers, resource users, policy-makers, industry
groups, educators and other stakeholders together in a collective effort to develop a unified
management framework, and to promote a regional capacity to design and implement
scientifically sound sea turtle management programs.

As a Partner Organization of the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme, WIDECAST is
designed to address research and management priorities at national and regional levels, both for
sea turtles and for the habitats upon which they depend. We focus on bringing the best available
science to bear on contemporary management and conservation issues, empowering stakeholders
to make effective use of that science in the policy-making process, and providing an operational
mechanism and a framework for cooperation at all levels, both within and among nations.

Network participants throughout the region are committed to working collaboratively to develop
their collective capacity to manage shared sea turtle resources. By bringing people together, and
by encouraging inclusive management planning, WIDECAST is helping to ensure that utilisation
practices, whether consumptive or non-consumptive, do not undermine sea turtle survival over
the long term.

Among these capacity building initiatives is the WIDECAST Marine Turtle Tagging Centre
(MTTC), located at the University of the West Indies (UWI) in Barbados and operated by the
Barbados Sea Turtle Project (BSTP) (http://www.barbadosseaturtles.org). The BSTP at UWI has
been an active member of the WIDECAST network since 1991, and is proud to give the MTTC
an institutional home within the region's primary university establishment.

The aim of the MTTC is to strengthen and coordinate dozens of otherwise isolated small-scale
tagging projects, and to encourage and enable collaboration among range states with regard to
sea turtle tagging and the documentation of international movements. Since its establishment in
2001, the Centre has distributed tags to research projects in more than 20 Caribbean States and
territories. Many more have indicated their desire for training, advice, and information on best
practices, as well as for tags. The Centre archives tag fate data for all participating projects and
provides a central clearinghouse for information on international movements.

This Manual of Recommended Practices is designed to complement the training workshops
hosted periodically at UWI for new projects wishing to become participants of the MTTC, and to
contribute to a unified code of practice for tagging projects conducted in the Wider Caribbean
Region. Please visit http://www.widecast.org/tagging for more information.


Karen L. Eckert
Executive Director
WIDECAST


Page 1


Eckert & Beggs (2006) Marine Turtle Tagging Manual (rev. ed.)


WIDECAST Technical Report No.2









ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


We are very grateful to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) GEF Small Grants
Programme for their support in the preparation and printing of this Manual.

In addition, the UNDP-GEF/SGP [Barbados] and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
[USA] provided grants in 2001 that led to the establishment of WIDECAST's Caribbean
regional Marine Turtle Tagging Centre (MTTC), including the purchase of an initial inventory of
30,000 Monel and Inconel tags and associated tagging equipment, the development of the first
version of a database management software package (with User's Manual) and other essential
documentation, and the hosting of the "First Regional WIDECAST Training Workshop on Sea
Turtle Tagging and Record-Keeping" (October 2001) at the University of the West Indies Cave
Hill Campus. NOAA (U. S. Department of Commerce) subsequently provided funding for
finalising the database management software.

We are particularly indebted, for their contributed expertise during the development of the
Manual, to Julia Horrocks and Barry Krueger (Barbados Sea Turtle Project), Scott Eckert and
Stacy Kubis (WIDECAST), Hedelvy Guada (CICTMAR, Venezuela), Barbara Schroeder
(NOAA/ NMFS Office of Protected Resources), Sheryan Epperly (NOAA/ NMFS Southeast
Fisheries Science Center), George Balazs (NOAA Hawai'i), Jennifer Gray (Bermuda Turtle
Project), Jeanette Wyneken (Florida Atlantic University, USA), and Sally Murphy (South
Carolina Department of Natural Resources, USA). We thank, as well, the more than 20
colleagues with whom we conferred informally on various issues, and gained insight from all!

Finally, we extend our gratitude to the network of WIDECAST Country Coordinators who
labour tirelessly throughout the Wider Caribbean Region on behalf of endangered sea turtles and
who, through their professional efforts and willingness to collaborate, contribute so much to the
survival of sea turtles through the MTTC and other region-wide capacity building initiatives.

Karen Eckert's time was partially supported by the Mary Derrickson McCurdy Visiting Scholar
Fellowship at Duke University, and a grant from the Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conserv-
ation Collaborative Initiatives Fund.


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WIDECAST Technical Report No.2









TABLE OF CONTENTS


PREFACE AND INTENT 1
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 2
TABLE OF CONTENTS 3
LIST OF FIGURES 4
LIST OF APPENDICES 5
LIST OF ACRONYMS 5

I. OVERVIEW 7
Why Tag Sea Turtles? 7

II. BEFORE YOU BEGIN 8
Considerations: Turtle Size and Species 9
Requesting Tags from the MTTC 10
Selecting a Tag Type 10
Flipper Tags 10
PIT Tags 11
Preparing Flipper Tags for Field Application 13

III. TAGGING PROTOCOLS 13
Where Should a Flipper Tag be Applied? 13
Hard-shelled Turtles 13
Leatherback Turtles 15
How Should a Flipper Tag be Applied? 17
When Should a Flipper Tag be Applied? 19
When Should a Flipper Tag be Removed? 19
What about PIT Tags? 20
Before Applying a PIT Tag 20
Hard-shelled Turtles 22
Leatherback Turtles 24
A Note about "Living Tags" 25

IV. RECORD-KEEPING 26

V. TAG RECOVERY: RETURNING A TAG TO THE MTTC 27

VI. LITERATURE CITED 28

APPENDIXA: Applying for Tags from the MTTC 30
APPENDIX B: Tag Manufacturers 34
APPENDIX C: Fibropapilloma Disease: What to do with a Fibropapilloma-
Bearing Turtle 35
APPENDIX D: Selected Peer-Reviewed Literature on Sea Turtle Tagging 37


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gging Manual (rev. ed.)


WIDECAST Technical Report No.2









LIST OF FIGURES


Figure 1. Size and shape of Monel tag style 1005-49 and Inconel style 1005-681. Source:
http://www.nationalband.com/nbtear.htm.

Figure 2. Size and shape of plastic "Jumbo" Rototags and their placement on (a) an adult
female loggerhead sea turtle (Photo: Scott Eckert/WIDECAST) and (b) a juvenile
green sea turtle (Photo: Bermuda Turtle Project).

Figure 3. The dorsal (alphanumeric) and ventral (return address) faces of an Inconel 1005-
681 tag available from the Marine Turtle Tagging Centre of WIDECAST. Photo:
Stacy Kubis/ WIDECAST.

Figure 4. The Disposable Needle Assembly (DNA) (left) is a sterile preloaded needle
assembly designed to snap into the DNA applicator gun. The Single Use
Disposable Syringe (SUDS) (right) is a sterile syringe pre-loaded with the PIT tag
(microchip). The protective cover is snapped off prior to injection. Source:
http://www.ezidavid.com/prod01.htm.

Figure 5. Metal Inconel style flipper tag placed (a) through the scale in the front flipper of a
juvenile green turtle (Photo: Stacy Kubis/WIDECAST) and (b) between scales on
the front flipper of a juvenile green turtle (Photo: Bermuda Turtle Project).

Figure 6. Metal flipper tag placed adjacent to the first large scale in the rear flipper of a
green turtle. Source: Balazs (1999).

Figure 7. Correct placement of a Monel style tag to the (a) rear flipper of an adult leather-
back (Photo: Peter Dutton/ NOAA) and (b) front flipper of an adult leatherback
(Photo: Scott A. Eckert/ WIDECAST).

Figure 8. A Monel 1005-49 style metal flipper tag correctly loaded (left) and cinched (right)
in the application pliers. Source: http://www.nationalband.com/nbt.pdf

Figure 9. Several brands, including the (a) AVID reader (http://www.ezidavid. com/avid
technology.htm) and (b) Destron Pocket Reader (Photo: NOAA/NMFS/SEFSC),
utilise "multi-mode technology" that enables them to read ID coded devices from
various manufacturers.

Figure 10. Inserting a PIT tag into the front flipper of a juvenile sea turtle, showing both (a)
ventral and (b) dorsal insertion points. Note the angle of the applicator to ensure
that the tag is inserted just beneath the skin, not too deep into the flipper. Photos:
(a) Bermuda Turtle Project; (b) Jeanette Wyneken/ Florida Atlantic University.


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Eckert & Beggs (2006) Marine Turtle Tagging Manual (rev. ed.)


WIDECAST Technical Report No.2









Figure 11. Inserting a PIT tag into the front flipper of a juvenile sea turtle, illustrating the
technique of pinching the triceps muscle complex on the front and top of the hum-
erus bone. Photo: Jeanette Wyneken/ Florida Atlantic University.

Figure 12. A labeled radiograph illustrating the successful placement of a PIT tag in the
triceps muscle complex of the fore flipper, parallel to the humerus bone. Source:
Image courtesy of The Turtle Hospital, annotated by Jeanette Wyneken.

Figure 13. Inserting a PIT tag into the rear flipper of an adult green turtle. Photo: George
Balazs/ NOAA Hawai'i.

Figure 14. Recommended PIT tagging site for Caribbean leatherback turtles. Photo: Matthew
Godfrey, with schematic from Dutton and McDonald (1994).

Figure 15. A green turtle with a living tag. On the plastron the tag appears as a dark spot (or
streak) and on the carapace, as a light spot (or streak). Photo: Julia Horrocks/
Barbados Sea Turtle Project.





LIST OF APPENDICES


Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C
Appendix D


Applying for Tags from the MTTC
Tag Manufacturers
Fibropapilloma Disease: What to do with a Fibropapilloma-Bearing Turtle
Selected Peer-Reviewed Literature on Sea Turtle Tagging


LIST OF ACRONYMS


BAMZ
BSTP
MTTC
NOAA
NMFS
PIT
SCL
UWI
WIDECAST


Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo
Barbados Sea Turtle Project
Marine Turtle Tagging Centre
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (U.S.)
National Marine Fisheries Service (U.S.)
Passive Integrated Transponder
Straight Carapace Length
University of the West Indies
Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network


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gging Manual (rev. ed.)


WIDECAST Technical Report No.2








Eckert & Beggs (2006) Marine Turtle Tagging Manual (rev. ed.) WIDECAST Technical Report No.2


Checking for tags applied to the rear flippers
of an adult leatherback, still on the beach at
dawn after nesting the night before. Photo:
Turtugaruba Foundation, Aruba.
0


The correct placement of Inconel tags to the
front flippers of a juvenile loggerhead. Photo:
Scott A. Eckert/ WIDECAST. >


Applying an Inconel tag to the front flipper of a
nesting hawksbill turtle, after successful egg-
laying. Photo: Scott A. Eckert/WIDECAST.


Page 6


Eckert & Beggs (2006) Marine Turtle Tagging Manual (rev. ed.)


WIDECAST Technical Report No.2









I. OVERVIEW

WHY TAG SEA TURTLES?

The primary purpose of tagging is to identify a sea turtle as an individual. Physical means of
identifying sea turtles include uniquely painted or coloured marks, tattoos, carapace [shell] tags
or drilled holes, flipper tags, coded wire tags, "living tags", and PIT (Passive Integrated
Transponder) tags.

Flipper tags are modified livestock tags that must be pierced through the flesh and clamped
closed using tag applicators specially designed for each tag type. Flipper tagging is the most
commonly used identification mark on sea turtles. PIT tags, which are injected under the skin
and therefore not as easily lost, are more expensive than flipper tags and require electronic
equipment to read the tag number.

Flipper tagging can provide information on population trends, habitat residency, movement
patterns (including international movements among range states), individual growth rates,
reproductive life history (e.g. remigration intervals, nesting frequency, clutch size, and/or
hatchlings produced per female), and strandings. Note that estimating trends in the relative
abundance of females on a nesting beach need not require any tagging at all, and can be achieved
through an appropriately designed daytime nest survey (cf. Schroeder and Murphy, 1999;
Gerrodette and Taylor, 1999).

The design of your tagging programme will depend upon your objectivess. If your objective is
to determine the number of individual females utilising a particular nesting beach and to assess
trends in their abundance over time, a long-term commitment of time and resources is essential.
In this case "saturation tagging" on the nesting beach may be required, necessitating all-night
coverage of a beach stretch and the tagging of all females using the beach over the course of the
annual nesting season.

For a population trend to be detected, a minimum of three data points is required. Sea turtles in
the Caribbean region nest, on average, every 1.5 to 3.5 years, depending on the species (scientists
refer to this as the average remigration interval). A tagging programme must continue for 5-10
years, again depending on the species, before it is possible to detect a trend in abundance of the
nesting population. Note that with very small populations or low remigration rates, it may take
considerably longer for a statistically significant trend to emerge (Bjorkland, 2001). Saturation
tagging at a nesting beach also facilitates the collection of data needed to assess nesting
frequency, remigration intervals, and reproductive output for individual females.

Tagging on a consistent but less-than-saturation basis (for example, three times per week over
the course of the nesting season) can also provide important management information, such as
insight into the minimum number of females using a nesting beach or insight into nest
distribution (including shifts in nest placement over time due to erosion, disturbance or other
factors), but less-than-saturation coverage cannot, for example, confirm clutch frequency or help
you to develop a robust estimation of the average remigration interval.


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WIDECAST Technical Report No.2









Tagging of sea turtles in their foraging habitats is also very useful and facilitates the use of mark-
recapture (or other statistical sampling) methods to quantify population size, assess individual
growth rates, and evaluate residency, time budgets, and habitat use, among others.

Whether on the nesting beach or the foraging ground, a tagging programme must measure tag
loss. When an animal is found without tags, it is important to be able to tell whether that animal
has never been tagged before (in other words, it is new to your tagged population) or whether it
has simply lost its tags. Measuring the extent of tag loss is critical to the correct interpretation of
the resulting data, and to the adjustment of tagging techniques accordingly.

Dolube-l ,'t-,-,ii.,' greatly reduces the statistical chance that an animal will subsequently be found
without any tags. Coupling PIT tagging technologies together with flipper-tagging provides an
extra measure of security to your database. Finally, keeping accurate records of diagnostic
markings and/or injuries can be very helpful in identifying a turtle that has lost its tags.

Monitoring programmes that utilise flipper tagging allow for the gathering of additional data
(e.g. changes in size and/or weight, tissue sampling for genetic or other analyses, variables
associated with habitat preferences) which go beyond the scope and purpose of this Manual. For
further information on these and related topics, such as the purpose and design of sea turtle
tagging and monitoring programmes, we refer you to Eckert and Abreu Grobois (2001), Eckert et
al. (1999) and, in particular, Balazs (1999) which includes comprehensive information on a
variety of tag types and suggestions on how to minimise problems.

Manuals associated with professional projects in Barbados (Beggs et al., 2001) and Bermuda
(Meylan et al., 2003) are also very useful, as is Chac6n et al. (2000), designed for Central
American field projects. Researchers contemplating an in-water tagging program should review
Bjorndal and Bolten (2000), as well as the "Report to the Range States on the Development of
Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) Population Monitoring Protocols for the Wider Caribbean"
(CITES, 2002). The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service should soon have available a
national "Sea Turtle Research Techniques Manual", designed by the Southeast Fisheries Science
Center in support of permit requirements under U.S. law and covering a variety of subjects from
handling and resuscitation to tagging and tissue sampling (see http://www.sefsc.noaa.gov/
seaturtletechmemos.jsp). Finally, seaturtle.org maintains an overview of tag types and tagging
protocols, including photos, at http://www.seaturtle.org/tagging/.

Recommendations may vary between sources; those included in this Manual are based on the
best judgment of the authors, peer-reviewers, and Caribbean experts.



II. BEFORE YOU BEGIN

We recommend that you read the entire Manual first! It contains important technical information
that will help you make informed decisions about your tagging programme. As you read, make a
list of field equipment necessary to achieve your particular tagging objectives.


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WIDECAST Technical Report No.2









CONSIDERATIONS: TURTLE SIZE AND SPECIES

Any species of sea turtle can be safely and humanely tagged using procedures outlined in this
Manual. However, be aware that most tags are not suitable for use on very small animals. While
small tags (e.g. Monel style 1005-1) are commercially available, there are no data to evaluate
their retention rates or any effect they may have on the movement or survival of very small
turtles. Experience with the Monel 1005-1 used on hawksbills 20-30 cm in straight carapace
length (SCL) suggests that they corrode quickly, break easily and, therefore, are not well
retained. They are only useful in a tagging programme where the animals are likely to be
recaptured at intervals of less than six months (J. Horrocks, BSTP, pers. comm., 2004). This tag
size is not currently inventoried by the MTTC.

The tagging of turtles less than 35 cm SCL should be discussed with MTTC staff. As a general
rule, we recommend that no turtle smaller than 30 cm straight carapace length (SCL) be tagged
with an Inconel 1005-681 tag (Figure 1), which is the smallest tag available from the MTTC.
Having said that, it is also worth noting that there is variation in the size of the enlarged fleshy
scales at the trailing edges of the front flippers. Some hawksbills of 25 cm SCL have relatively
large scales that can hold an Inconel 1005-681 tag comfortably, whilst some 30 cm SCL turtles
may not. If the tag hangs too far beyond the edge of the flipper (see "How Should a Flipper Tag
be Applied?"), it may impede swimming motion and cause drag that will likely result in tag loss.

Hard-shelled turtles larger than 30 cm SCL should be tagged with Inconel style 1005-681 tags.
Leatherback turtles (and sometimes adult green and loggerhead turtles) are generally tagged with
the larger Monel style 1005-49 (Figure 1).














L, .. L -,L ',.,.[ [ ,rI


Figure 1. Size and shape of Monel tag style 1005-49 and Inconel style 1005-681, manufactured by
National Band and Tag Company (http://www.nationalband.com/nbtear.htm). Tag card photo courtesy
NMFS-SEFSC.


The use of Passive Integrated Transponder, or "PIT" tags, in adult sea turtles is well-tested and
offers the clear advantage of superior tag retention (at least when compared to metal flipper


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WIDECAST Technical Report No.2









tags), but there is less information on the long-term effects of PIT-tagging juvenile turtles.
Long-term research projects in Bermuda, Florida, and Mona Island (Puerto Rico) routinely PIT-
tag juveniles, but recapture rates to date have been insufficient at most sites to fully document
and evaluate tag retention rates. We do not discourage the PIT tagging of small juveniles, but we
do urge you to contact colleagues who are experienced with these young size classes. Feel free
to contact the MTTC for information on projects currently PIT-tagging small juveniles.

We do not recommend any flipper or PIT tagging of hatchlings or neonates of any species.


REQUESTING TAGS FROM THE MTTC

Once you have determined that you have access to sea turtles suitable for tagging, you have
defined a set of research or management questions that can be answered through current tagging
technologies (see "Why Tag Sea Turtles?"), and your organisation is committed to orderly and
long-term record-keeping, then the first step in acquiring tags from the MTTC is to complete a
Tag Application Form (see Appendix A). The MTTC typically limits the distribution of flipper
tags to any one project to a maximum of 200 tags per year. There is no lower limit.

The following sections in the Manual are designed to assist you in determining which tag type is
best suited for your programme objectives, where and how tags should be applied, etc.


SELECTING A TAG TYPE

Two general types of tags are most used on sea turtles: externally placed metal and plastic flipper
tags, and internally placed PIT (Passive Integrated Transponder) tags. See Appendix B for
manufacturer addresses.

Flipper Tags- The MTTC currently inventories Monel and Inconel tags (manufactured by
National Band and Tag Company in the U.S., see http://www.nationalband.com/nbtear.htm) and
the appropriate applicators for each tag type. Monel tags are typically used for leatherbacks, as
they are larger and more suitable for the thicker skin of this species. Monel tags can also be used
on adult loggerhead and green turtles, but Inconel tags tend to show longer retention rates.
Inconel tags are always recommended for hawksbills and ridley turtles, and for use on juveniles
of all species.

The MTTC does not inventory plastic tags (Figure 2). Plastic tags, such as the Rototag
(http://www.dalton. co.uk/ID/rototag.htm) or the larger Jumbo Tag, are manufactured by Dalton
ID Systems, Ltd., England. They can be customised in different colors with numbers and
lettering embossed on both the inner and outer surfaces of the tag's plates. Plastic tags can be
useful, especially in relatively short-term studies of localised home range and habitat utilisation.
The disadvantage is that the embossed numbers can become abraded, with frustrating speed, to
the point where they can no longer be read (Hint: abrasion is considerably reduced by embossing
on the inner surfaces). In addition, they tend to bio-foul (such as with algae, barnacles, etc.) and
may increase the likelihood of turtles becoming ensnared incidentally in fishing gear.


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Eckert & Beggs (2006) Marine Turtle Tagging Manual (rev. ed.) WIDECAST Technical Report No.2


Figure 2. Size and shape of plastic "Jumbo" Rototags and their placement on (a) an adult female logger-
head (Photo: Scott Eckert/ WIDECAST) and (b) a juvenile green turtle (Photo: Bermuda Turtle Project).

Metal tags available from the MTTC are inscribed on both dorsal and ventral sides (Figure 3).
The dorsal (upward facing) side is inscribed with a unique alphanumeric code, typically two
capital letters (e.g. WC, WE, WH) followed by a four-digit number series.

In addition to the number sequence, all MTTC tags are inscribed with a return address on the
ventral side: REWARD PREMIO SEND
UWI, DEPT BIOLOGY
BARBADOS









Figure 3. Enlarged view of the dorsal (alphanumeric) and ventral (return address) faces of an Inconel
1005-681 tag available from the Marine Turtle Tagging Centre (MTTC). Photo: Stacy Kubis/ WIDECAST.

PIT Tags- For financial reasons, the MTTC does not inventory or distribute Passive Integrated
Transponder (PIT) tags, which typically cost US$ 5-10 per tag. PIT tags are "small inert
microprocessors sealed in glass that can transmit a unique identification number to a hand-held
reader when the reader briefly activates the tag with a low frequency radio signal at close range"
(Balazs, 1999). A PIT tag is cylindrical in shape, about the size of a grain of rice, and is injected
under the skin or into the muscle (see Figure 4 for an example of an applicator system). When a
specialized reader is passed over the tag, the reader generates a low energy radio signal that
energizes the tag to transmit its number. The turtle feels nothing as the reader (scanner) is passed
over it. The received number, typically 9-15 digits arranged in a unique unalterable alphanumeric
code (i.e. a combination of numbers and letters), is displayed in the reader's viewing window.


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Eckert & Beggs (2006) Marine Turtle Tagging Manual (rev. ed.)


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To date there has been very little standardisation among sea turtle scientists with regard to brand,
excitement frequency, placement (i.e. tagging site on the turtle), or record-keeping. In keeping
with MTTC's goal to standardise tagging methodologies in the Caribbean, members of the
WIDECAST network are collaborating with the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
and other colleagues to comprehensively lab- and field-test a variety of PIT tag brands, styles,
and readers/ scanners. The results to date have documented a complex array of performance
characteristics between AVID, Destron and Trovan technologies. The results confirm that any of
the major brands will perform well on hard-shelled turtles. The biggest challenge is with leather-
backs, the tag is inserted more deeply into the flesh and thus a greater "read distance" is required.

The most serious problems from a data collection standpoint arise when the reader is not
"matched" to the excitement frequency of the tag, and thus cannot de-code its identity.
Standardising brand use across geographic regions would assist in ensuring that turtles PIT-
tagged at one site could be de-coded and read at other project sites. The NMFS analysis should
be complete during the 2005-2006 biennium, and recommendations and guidelines should result.
Visit http://www.widecast.org/tagging for updates on this and other aspects of turtle tagging.

For now we recommend that projects intending to begin PIT tagging collaborate directly with
experienced colleagues; that unencrypted tags be used so that they can be read by other scanning
technologies (or brands) should your tagged turtle nest or be captured in a distant country; that
you select a weatherproof reader (or place it in a durable clear plastic bag when in the field; the
plastic will not interfere with performance); and that you select a reader capable of detecting PIT
tags made by different manufacturers. Different PIT tags operate on different frequencies for
example Trovan emitsl28 kHz, while AVID and Destron-Fearing emit 125 kHz. If your reader
is unable to detect these different frequencies, the tag will be "invisible" to you.


..-. .. ...- l Im I -















Figure 4. Tag delivery systems vary, even within manufacturers (in this case, AVID). The Disposable
Needle Assembly (DNA) (left) is a sterile preloaded needle assembly designed to snap into the DNA
applicator gun. The Single Use Disposable Syringe (SUDS) (right) is a sterile syringe pre-loaded with the
PIT tag (microchip). The protective cover is snapped off prior to injection. (Note: SUDS is arguably the
simplest method, but it produces a lot of waste because components are used only once.) Source:
http://www.ezidavid.com/prod01 .htm


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PREPARING FLIPPER TAGS FOR FIELD APPLICATION

Wash- During the manufacturing process the tags are covered in a lubricating oil comprised of
an animal-based oil and mineral spirits, and therefore must be washed prior to being applied to a
turtle. Unwashed tags quickly cause infection at the point of application. One option is to wash
your tags in hot soapy water; another option is to use a biodegradable solvent or cleaning
solution such as Simple Green or BioChem SolSafe 245. After cleaning, thoroughly dry the
tags and store them in sealed plastic food storage boxes or ZiplocTM type bags.

Bend- If you consistently encounter problems in the field with tags that do not fully cinch closed,
give extra care to loading each tag correctly; that is, with the base plate flush against the plier
(see Figure 9). You may also find it useful to adjust/bend the tag to help ensure that the point of
the tag enters the hole during the application process. This is best done in the light, and should
be part of the preparation phase. Bend the tag so that the pointed end meets up with the hole, but
be careful not to bend the tag too frequently as this may affect the integrity of the metal (this is
particularly true with the softer Monel tags). Once you have bent the tag to ensure a fit, re-open
the tag so that it will be retained snugly in the tag applicator.

Record- Record all the tags numbers allotted to the tagging kit(s) at the time they are distributed
from storage. Tags can be easily lost, misapplied, or misread. Knowing the tag numbers in each
individual kit assists in accurate record keeping of tag fate data. Hint: For accessibility in the
field at night, keep tags in a small bag in your field kit, or strung together on wire or fishing line.



III. TAGGING PROTOCOLS

WHERE SHOULD A FLIPPER TAG BE APPLIED?

Hard-shelled turtles- Two tags, one in the trailing edge of each front flipper, should be applied
to every turtle. The secure placement of two tags, referred to as "double-tagging", increases the
likelihood that a turtle will retain her unique identification over several years.

Metal (or plastic) flipper tags can be applied in one of two ways: either through (Figure 5a) or
between (Figure 5b) the enlarged fleshy scales located at the trailing edge of the flipper. If
through the scale, we recommend placement in the center of the first or second scale proximal to
(closest to) the body of the turtle (meaning closest to the axilla or "armpit") on both the left and
the right front flippers. If between the scales, we recommend placing the tag between the first
and second scales.

There is debate among experienced field scientists whether tags are retained longer when placed
through or between scales. Some observe that a callous forms in the scale, creating a thickening
at the site of tagging that eventually pops the tag open and results in its loss. Others counter that
the scale provides a solid grip for the tag, and that tags placed in the softer skin between the
scales are more likely to be lost. There is no definitive answer to this debate, and we encourage


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you to experiment with tag placement and to identify the tagging location that works best for you
and for your population of sea turtles.

Regardless of whether your tag is placed through or between scales, it is important to remember
that with increasing distance away from the body, tag retention is compromised. The further the
tag is placed from the body, the more likely it is to be lost due to hydrodynamic forces, biting
during courtship (or from fish), ensnarement in a fishing net, etc.

The tag should be applied so that there is approximately 3-5 mm of open space between the
trailing edge of the flipper and the inside curve of the tag. Experience with the tagging of
juvenile turtles in Barbados has shown that tags may "grow out" quite quickly in some species.
Juveniles vary greatly in their growth rates at different size classes, and some size classes may be
more vulnerable than others to losing tags through scale growth above the tag insertion point.
Some juveniles are recaptured after only a few months of freedom with their tags barely hanging
on! The holes have not increased in size, suggesting scale growth above (as opposed to below)
the tag insertion point (Julia Horrocks, BSTP, pers. observ.).

The Inconel tag in Figure 5b is instructive in that it illustrates the challenge of tagging small
juveniles. The tag has too much overhang, and would likely be better retained with about half as
much space between the flipper edge and the inside curve of the tag. However, given the size of
the turtle, placement further into the flipper would have been impossible. The photo is also
instructive in illustrating that the tag is correctly cinched, but note that it was placed "upside-
down" which is not the usual orientation.

















Figure 5. Metal Inconel style flipper tag placed (a) through the scale in the front flipper of a juvenile green
turtle (Photo: Stacy Kubis/WIDECAST) and (b) between scales on the front flipper of a juvenile green
turtle (Photo: Bermuda Turtle Project).


It is noteworthy that placing a metal tag, especially a Monel style tag, through a scale in a large
hard-shelled adult or into a leatherback turtle's flipper may require the pre-punching of an
insertion hole for the tag. The insertion should be made quickly and cleanly with a small blade


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(such as a Swiss Army knife blade) inserted perpendicular to the scale. The knife should be
sterilised after each use with an alcohol wipe or dipped in a small field bottle of disinfectant.

Rear flipper placement is also an option for hard-shelled species, and is routine for leatherbacks.
Some experts contend that rear flipper placement reduces the chance that the tag will cause
entanglement in nets. Notwithstanding, the long history of front flipper tagging means that a
rear-placed tag is less likely to be found and read during later encounters. If, however, injury or
other circumstances significantly reduce the likelihood of successful tagging on the front flipper,
a rear flipper tag is best placed through (or adjacent to) the first large scale (Figure 6).




















Figure 6. Metal flipper tag placed adjacent to the first large scale in the rear flipper of a green turtle.
Source: Balazs (1999).

Leatherback turtles- Experience has shown that tags applied to the front flippers of leatherback
sea turtles show lower retention rates than tags applied to rear flippers. The reasons for this are
related to swimming dynamics and epidermal characteristics. We recommend that leatherbacks
be tagged with Monel tags in the "baggy pants area"; that is, in the fold of skin that connects the
tail to the rear flipper (Figure 7a). Two tags, one in each rear flipper, should be applied. Note
that application of Monel tags will typically require the pre-punching of an insertion hole (see
"Where Should a Flipper Tag be Applied?").

To find the optimal location, run your finger along the edge of the rear flipper, feeling the
thickness of the skin. Place the tag where the skin is thinnest; if the skin is too thick, the tag will
not cinch completely. Leave at least 1 cm of open space between the flipper edge and the inside
curve of the tag. Occasionally the skin is too thick for the tag to penetrate and lock securely
(such a condition is especially prevalent in leatherbacks that have already lost a tag from this
location). If this is the case, it is best to move the tag location distally (i.e. away from the tail)
until a suitable location can be found. If you conclude there is no place that a tag can be applied,
the placement of two tags on the same flipper is acceptable -- of prime importance is that every
turtle be double-tagged.


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Note: If you place the tag too close to the tail you risk a painful experience, and ongoing
discomfort for the turtle. If you place the tag too far along the flipper edge, the flesh becomes too
thick and tough to retain the tag and/or it is likely to be lost to abrasion during the next nesting.

Inconel style 1005-681 tags are not recommended for leatherbacks, but if their occasional use is
unavoidable they should be placed where the skin is thinnest and a small gap left between the
edge of the flipper and the inside curve of the tag (to allow for temporary swelling).

If tagging a leatherback on a front flipper is unavoidable, place tags "upside down" so that each
tag inserts UP through the flipper. This will position the sharp tab on the upper surface of the
flipper, thus preventing the sharp tine from scoring and bloodying the leathery carapace during
nesting. The tag should be placed just distal of the soft "armpit" region. This can be discovered
by feeling along the edge of the flipper from the body outwards. The point at which you feel a
distinct hardening of the flipper edge is the recommended tag site.

A slight gap should remain between the edge of the flipper and the inside curve of the closed tag
(Figure 7b).
















Figure 7. Correct placement of a Monel style tag to the (a) rear flipper of an adult leatherback (Photo: P.
Dutton/ NOAA) and (b) front flipper of an adult leatherback (Photo: Scott A. Eckert/ WIDECAST).


In summary-
always double-tag providing each turtle two unique identifying tags, typically one on
each front (or one on each rear) flipper,
every turtle should carry two good flipper tags, meaning, for example, that if an animal
arrives on the nesting beach (or is captured at sea) carrying two well-placed and readable
tags (but not your own), do not apply additional tags, simply record the tag type, number
and return address on your data sheet; alternatively, if s/he is carrying a single tag or one
or more poorly placed or unreadable tags, tags should be added and/or removed as
necessary (return all removed tags to their project of origin!),
be consistent in your choice of tag site (through or between scales, through the first or
second scale, etc.),


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always check all four flippers (running your fingers very gently along all edges) because
you are likely to see tagged turtles from other places, and their preferred tag site may not
be the same as yours!,
follow the instructions in this Manual so that the application of the tag is clean and quick,
and the tag is correctly and securely cinched, and
leave a small (but not too small) space between the tag and the flipper edge.

Hint: Practice tagging technique on a sheet of corrugated cardboard. It is important to become
comfortable and confident with the quick, decisive action needed to penetrate the flesh and cinch
the tag correctly. Slow or imprecise movements can cause discomfort to the turtle. Moreover, if
the animal moves (especially in a startle response) during tag placement, the application may be
ruined. See "How Should a Flipper be Applied?", below.

Cautionary Statement: Unfortunately, fibropapilloma tumors have been documented in
Caribbean sea turtles, particularly green turtles. Turtles with obvious fibropapilloma disease
should not be tagged anywhere near a potential tumor site, as the tagging may be painful for the
turtle, may result in premature tag loss, and may expose turtles subsequently tagged with the
same tagging pliers to a potentially fatal infection (see Appendix C for further detail). For
background information and photos, visit http://www.vetmed.ufl.edu/sacs/wildlife/fibpap.html.
For a full bibliography on this disease, see http://www.turtles.org/nmfsbib.htm.


HOW SHOULD A FLIPPER TAG BE APPLIED?

Before applying a tag, examine the area for tag scars. Scars are difficult to confirm, but can
appear as rips in the flipper scales or skin, or lumps of scar tissue in the same areas in both front
flippers. Feel along the edges of all flippers, and gently squeeze the first and second scales to
identify any lumps (check that you're not feeling a small barnacle!). Record the presence of tag
scars, or potential tag scars, on the datasheet and avoid placing new tags in these areas. Apply
new tags as described below.

1. Rinse the tip of the tagging pliers and the tags (and a field knife, if used) in alcohol.

2. Cleanse tagging site on the turtle with Betadine or rubbing alcohol before tag insertion.

3. Pull the tag through the grooved guides in the jaws of the applicator (pliers) until it
"snaps" into place. Make sure that the base plate of the tag is flat against the bottom jaw
and the "bubble" is seated in the hole. Marking one jaw of the pliers with white paint can
assist in loading the tags correctly at night. Be sure to check that the tag is seated
securely before proceeding to the next step.
4. Position the tag and pliers so that the tag number is facing upwards, is at the proper
location on the flipper, and will result in an appropriate gap between the trailing edge of
the flipper and the inside curve of the tag


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Figure 8. A Monel 1005-49 style metal flipper tag correctly loaded (left) and cinched (right) in the applica-
tion pliers. ALWAYS align the base plate of the tag flat against the pliers. Note the tine bent over and
completely through the stirrup. Source: http://www.nationalband.com/nbt.pdf


5. Squeeze the pliers with a firm, smooth action. Squeezing too lightly will not allow the
tine to bend and lock into place, while squeezing too hard may cause the tag to flatten and
pinch the flipper. Either mistake will result in tag loss, and the latter (squeezing too
tightly) can cause unnecessary and unacceptable discomfort to the turtle. Topical
anesthetics, such as for human sunburn, are sometimes recommended but should not be
necessary; if tags are applied properly, the typical reaction is one of only mild discomfort.

6. Confirm that the tag is properly applied and cinched. For Inconel tags, turn the flipper
over and examine the bottom of the tag to confirm that the tag has penetrated and that the
tip (tine) is completely bent over and secure. An Inconel tag that is not secure can often
be re-crimped with the tagging pliers. If this fails, remove the tag carefully and try again
with a new tag, using the same puncture hole if possible.

In the case of a stirrup-style Monel tag (Figure 8) where the bent tine is not visible, place
your thumb and index finger on either side of the tag and gently attempt to wedge your
fingers under the tag; if the tag pops open, it is not secure and must be replaced.

7. RECORD THE TAG NUMBER. It is only after you have confirmed the proper and
secure placement of the tag(s) that the tag numbers are recorded on the datasheet. Record
the numbers carefully, and indicate the placement site (e.g. left front flipper) if required
by the datasheet. Take GREAT CARE in reading and transcribing the numbers. Check
and double-check that you have read and recorded the numbers correctly (it is helpful if a
second person reads the numbers to the data recorder). Always record zeros.

Hint: As noted earlier, you might want to consider practicing the technique for applying flipper
tags through a piece of corrugated cardboard until you are comfortable with decisive and
successful tag insertion. "Successful" tag insertion is defined as a secure clasp (the tip of the tag
is completely bent over and fastened), correct spacing between the flipper edge and the inside
curve of the tag, and no pinching of the flipper flesh.


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WHEN SHOULD A FLIPPER TAG BE APPLIED?

The timing of tag placement becomes important when tagging a nesting female. To minimise
disturbance to a nesting hard-shelled turtle, it is recommended that tagging (whether flipper or
PIT tagging) occur during the late stages of egg-laying, or during the early stages of nest tamping
and covering. Some researchers argue that the surprise or agitation that sometimes accompanies
tagging may cause the female to abort her egg-laying (or fail to cover the nest) if tagging takes
place during egg-laying. The truth is that sea turtle populations differ in their response to
tagging, so take care to establish a field procedure that consistently works best in your situation.

For ease of placement, rear flipper tagging of nesting leatherbacks is done during the latter stages
of egg-laying, before the rear flippers become engaged in nest filling.

A successful saturation tagging programme is defined by the application of two tags to every
turtle encountered in the study area. A gravid female should be given every opportunity to
successfully complete a nest, and should not be interfered with until it is clear she is returning to
the sea. At this point, she can be respectfully restrained long enough to apply at least one tag.
Such restraint is also called for if project personnel encounter a turtle after a successful nesting
and during her return to the sea. Covering (not touching) her eyes with your hands is often
sufficient to stop her long enough to insert a tag. Alternatively, straddle her, facing the same
direction, and pull back on the nuchal scute (the edge of the shell, just behind the head)
sufficiently to stop her forward movement or kneel very gently on a foreflipper to bring her to a
halt. A partner should complete the tagging at this point.

In the case of a leatherback, which may weigh in excess of 500 kg, ordinary restraint procedures
do not apply. Experience has shown that gravid females can be "steered" by placing a leg or a
stout, smooth stick against the animal's shoulder. She will turn away from the obstruction, and
thus the direction of her movement can be controlled (directed away from the water, for
example) if more time is needed for tagging.


WHEN SHOULD A FLIPPER TAG BE REMOVED?

A tag should be removed and replaced if it is causing swelling or disfigurement to the surround-
ing tissue, or if it is corroded or fouled (such as by algae or barnacles) to the point where it can
no longer be read clearly. Remember to FIRST apply a new tag (or tags) to the turtle before the
fouled tags are removed. On a nesting beach this reduces the chance that a turtle will depart
untagged.

To easily remove a damaged or corroded Inconel tag, two needle-nose pliers are useful: one to
hold the tag firm and stable and one to snap open the tightly clinched locking end. Monel tags
must be cut near the locking end of the tag with a pair of strong wire cutters.

RECORD the tag number and the reason for removal, and store the tag for future reference. If
the tag was applied by another project, please return it to the address embossed on the tag with a
note documenting when, where and how the animal was encountered and why the tag was
removed. NEVER remove a tag unless it is unreadable or causing discomfort to the turtle.


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WHAT ABOUT PIT TAGS?

Applying PIT (Passive Integrated Transponder) tags is considered to be more invasive than
applying flipper tags and should be done only under the guidance of workers experienced with
the technique. Before embarking on a programme of PIT tagging, please consult with MTTC
staff and seek advice from experienced PIT tagging colleagues in the region. PIT tagging is not
a substitute for flipper tagging, but is best used together with flipper tagging.

A PIT tag is injected under the skin, generally into muscle, using a needle applicator provided by
the manufacturer. Most PIT tags and applicators are pre-sterilized and packaged for field use. If
the PIT tag style you select is not pre-sterilized, it is important that each tag be soaked in a non-
toxic sterilizing solution (such as alcohol) prior to use.

We recommend that only one PIT tag be applied per animal. We recommend that turtles smaller
than 30 cm SCL not be PIT tagged. Finally, we recommend that novice taggers do not try to PIT
tag animals smaller than 35 cm SCL.

Before applying a PIT tag- Make sure that the turtle has not already been PIT tagged! Sea
turtles encountered in the Wider Caribbean Region may have already have been tagged in the
USA, South America, West Africa or the Mediterranean during an earlier life phase, or during a
nesting or non-nesting encounter with another research project. With flipper tagging this is easy
to confirm, but with PIT tags you need a reader that can give you accurate information (review
"Selecting a Tag Type: PIT Tags").

There is no consensus on the placement of PIT tags, and for this reason project personnel should
examine all possible sites (i.e. left and right shoulder muscle, left and right fore flippers, left and
right rear flippers, neck) for existing tags before a new tag is inserted. Be sure to scan all areas,
even if a PIT tag is found, because some turtles may already have more than one PIT tag.

Protect the reader under field conditions by placing it in a clear and durable plastic bag. To scan
for an existing tag: turn the reader ON (see Figure 9), place the reader (in the bag) directly on
the skin of the turtle to decrease the "read distance", and then press and hold the READ button.
Continue to hold the READ button while moving over the area to be scanned in a circular
motion. Be sure to use the entire reading surface of the scanner when trying to detect the tag.

After you have made a number of scans of the area, re-scan the area while tilting the scanner at
various angles. PIT tags read best when the tag is pointing with the small end (picture the tip of
a grain of rice) pointed directly toward the scanner, but the tag is not always oriented optimally
under the skin. By tilting the reading surface at different angles during a sweep, you improve
your chances of detecting a tag that may be angled away from the skin.

Remember that read distance is a big issue with leatherbacks, meaning that the tag may be too far
away to be detected and read accurately. There is no easy solution to this, but be as thorough as
possible in scanning for any pre-existing tags before the decision is made to insert a new tag.


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Figure 9. Several brands, including the (a) AVID reader (http://www.ezidavid. com/avid technology.htm)
and (b) Destron Pocket Reader (Photo: NOAA/NMFS/SEFSC), utilise "multi-mode technology" that
enables them to read ID coded devices from various manufacturers.

If a PIT tag number is identified by the reader, the number should be entered on the data sheet in
the space allocated for this type of tag, and should be documented EXACTLY as it appears on
the scanner display, including any hyphens that may appear as part of the code. The tag
"number" is usually hexadecimal (digits 0-9 and letters A-F) and 10 bytes (125, 128, or 400 kHz
tags) or 15 bytes (134.2 kHz tags) long. Double-check to make sure you have recorded the tag
"number" exactly as it appears on the reader display, taking care concerning letters and numbers
that can easily be confused, e.g. the letter O and the number 0 (or, 0). If the scanner display
reads "AVID" or reads inconsistently, you may have detected an encrypted AVID tag. Encrypted
tags may display a 16 byte alphanumeric code (0-9 and A-Z) on non-AVID reader displays.

Hint: If your reader has a low battery, or if you are attempting to read an encrypted tag that is not
recognized by your reader, some readers will give bogus or "ghost" numbers. An example might
be an excessively long alphanumeric code or nonsense symbols. If this occurs, turn the reader
OFF, turn it back ON, and re-scan. If nonsense readings persist, try another reader or replace the
batteries. If nonsense readings still persist, record them for later evaluation and make relevant
notes on the data sheet. Remember also that if the turtle, or flipper, is resting on anything iron
(such as the bed of a truck), you should lift it up a few inches before reading. Iron (and certain
neon lighting and electrical motors nearby) can neutralize the ability of the reader to detect a tag.

Once you confirm that the turtle is not already carrying a PIT tag, prepare a new tag for insertion.

ALWAYS SCAN (AND RECORD) THE NEW TAG BEFORE YOU INSERT IT TO VERIFY
THAT IT IS FUNCTIONAL.


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-4
-i.









Hard-shelled turtles- In hard-shelled turtles a PIT tag is typically placed in either a front or rear
flipper). There is no clear consensus amongst scientists about the "correct" placement of a PIT
tag in a hard-shelled turtle. The Bermuda Turtle Project, one of a handful of projects in the
WIDECAST region with years of experience in PIT tagging (typically with foraging juveniles),
favors tag insertion into the front flipper between the radius and ulna (Figure 10). The major
joint in the flipper is between the humerus bone and the radius and ulna bones. You should be
able to feel a depression between the radius and ulna bones. This is where the PIT tag is applied.

Before application, the area where the tag will be injected should be cleaned with a Betadine
(or Povodine) saturated swab.


















Figure 10. Inserting a PIT tag into the front flipper of a juvenile sea turtle, showing both (a) ventral and (b)
dorsal insertion points. Note the angle of the applicator to ensure that the tag is inserted just beneath the
skin, not too deep into the flipper. Note, as well, that taggers should be wearing gloves! Photos: (a)
Bermuda Turtle Project; (b) Jeanette Wyneken/ Florida Atlantic University.

The tag in Figure 10(a) is injected proximal to distal (i.e. point the syringe toward the fin tip) into
the connective tissue of the forearm between the radius and ulna, parallel to the bone, by
inserting the syringe under the skin between the radius and ulna and pushing the plunger to move
the tag out of the applicator and into the connective tissue. Watch for bleeding after injection. If
blood flows from the wound, apply pressure with swab soaked in a broad-based topical
microbicide, such as a povidine-iodine antiseptic solution (e.g. Betadine), until the flow stops.
It may be necessary, especially in small juveniles, to apply a small amount of surgical glue to
close the opening. In contrast, the juvenile loggerhead in Figure 10(b) is being injected adjacent
to (as opposed to just distil to) the radius and ulna. The landmark for the distil ends of the radius
and ulna is the end of the three large scales on the leading edge of the flipper; see arrow.

An alternative, well-tested methodology for tagging in the front flipper recommends using the
triceps muscle complex on the front and top of the humerus. This muscle mass is easy to isolate
by pinching it next to the anterior or dorsal humerus (Figures 11 and 12). The muscle is active


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during part of the swimming stroke, but no lameness has been detected in animals receiving a
PIT tag in this location (J. Wyneken, Florida Atlantic University, pers. comm., 2005).

Whatever location you choose, remember that PIT tags are designed to become encapsulated
with fibrous connective tissue in muscle. When the tag is encapsulated, it will not migrate away
from the insertion point. Experience has shown that the tags do not encapsulate as reliably in
skin, tendon, ligament, connective tissue or fat (J. Wyneken, pers. comm., 2004).

Figure 11. Inserting a PIT tag into the
front flipper of a juvenile sea turtle,
* ..illustrating the technique of pinching
the triceps muscle complex on the
front and top of the humerus bone.
The leading edge of the flipper is fac-
ing the photographer.

Note the angle of the applicator to
ensure that the tag is inserted into the
muscle complex, but not too deep into
the flipper.

Photo: NOAA/NMFS/SEFSC.





Tc s Figure 12. A labeled radiograph illustrating the
successful placement of a PIT tag in the triceps
muscle complex of the fore flipper, parallel to the
humerus bone (insertion shown in Fig. 11).

Another option, not discussed in the text, is to
place the PIT tag in the flipper blade.

Source: Image courtesy of The Turtle Hospital,
annotated by Jeanette Wyneken, Florida Atlantic
University.


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In the case of nesting females, many experts recommend rear flipper placement of the PIT tag.
This ensures that application occurs away from the head (reducing chances of disturbance),
typically results in less associated bleeding than in the front flipper, less discomfort is exhibited
by the turtle during the procedure, and there is less chance of injury to the researcher. Rear
flipper PIT tag placement, as shown in Figure 13, is 1-2 scales up from the claw scale and about
one-third flipper distance medial. The location of insertion is between the scales into the seam.
The injection angle is under the skin, i.e. not deep into the flipper or toward bones (G. Balazs,
NOAA Hawai'i, pers. comm., 2004).


Figure 13. Inserting a PIT tag into the rear flipper of an adult green turtle. Note the angle of the applicator
to ensure that the tag is inserted just beneath the skin, not deep into the flipper. Photo: George Balazs/
NOAA Hawai'i.


We recommend that tagging of nesting females occur during the mid- to late-stages of egg-laying
when all flippers are relatively stationary. If the flippers are flailing or the turtle is moving, the
chance of injury to the turtle and/or the tagger is much greater.

As soon as the PIT tag is successfully applied, the adhesive strip with the tag number and bar
code that comes with each applicator package should be transferred to the data sheet. The person
applying the PIT tag should then read the injected tag again with the reader and confirm the
number with the data recorder.

Leatherback turtles- Leatherbacks should be PIT tagged in the muscle of the front right or left
shoulder (Figure 14). The tag should always be injected perpendicular to the dermis (not at an
angle, as is sometimes suggested), and embedded to the full depth of the needle so as to penetrate
beyond the thick layer of blubber into the underlying muscle. Assuming the tag retains that
orientation, this insertion protocol best facilitates accurate scanning.

Tagging of nesting females should occur during the mid to late egg-laying phase, while the turtle
is still motionless. Before application, the area where the tag will be injected should be cleaned


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with a swab soaked in a broad-based topical microbicide, such as a povidine-iodine antiseptic
solution (e.g. Betadine). Watch for bleeding after injection. If blood flows from the wound,
apply pressure with a clean gauze pad until the flow stops. If necessary, apply a small amount of
surgical glue to close the opening.


Figure 14. Recommended PIT tagging site for Caribbean
with schematic from Dutton and McDonald (1994).


leatherback turtles. Photo:


Matthew Godfrey,


Shoulder placement (Figure 14) is preferred because (i) the area is exposed, making it relatively
easy to apply and read the tag without disturbing the turtle; (ii) the area is relatively well
protected, since more distal portions can be lost or disfigured during predator attacks; and (iii)
stranded animals and carcasses are often missing flippers, making it impossible to verify the
presence of traditional flipper tags (Dutton and McDonald, 1994). Warning: Don't place the tag
too high on the shoulder, where there is a nerve bundle. Always practice your technique first
with mentoring from an experienced colleague.

As soon as the PIT tag is successfully applied, the adhesive strip with the tag number and bar
code that comes with each applicator package should be transferred to the data sheet. The person
applying the PIT tag should then read the injected tag again with the reader and confirm the
number with the data recorder.

In all cases, the needle should be re-sheathed and discarded safely, ideally into a hazard bin. It is
essential that used needles not become litter.


A NOTE ABOUT "LIVING TAGS"

"Living" tags have occasionally been used to identify cohorts of hatchlings or yearlings released
in a given year. Contrasting pigmented marks are created by the surgical exchange (referred to
as "autografting") of small pieces of tissue between the carapace and plastron (Figure 15). These
marks are retained and increase in size as the animal grows (Balazs, 1999).


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Head-started Kemp's ridleys were often "living tagged" before their release into the Gulf of
Mexico in the 1980s (Fontaine et al., 1988; Shaver, 1996). Green sea turtles so marked by
certain projects in Mexico (see Zurita et al., 1994) have subsequently been encountered in distant
waters, such as the Bahamas (Bjorndal et al., 2003) and Barbados (Julia Horrocks, BSTP, pers.
comm., 2004).


Figure 15. A green turtle with a living tag. On the plastron the tag appears as a dark spot (or streak) and
on the carapace, as a light spot (or streak). Photos: Julia Horrocks/BSTP.

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service's national "Sea Turtle Research Techniques
Manual", not yet publicly available, will feature a comprehensive and well-illustrated chapter on
how to mark a sea turtle with a "living tag". When complete, the manual will be posted to http://
www.sefsc.noaa.gov/seaturtletechmemos.isp. Watch http://www.widecast.org/tagging for a link
to this important new resource.



IV. RECORD-KEEPING

An accurate and up-to-date log of the project's tags and tag fate should be kept at all times. As
tags are taken into the field, it is useful to document how many tags are taken out and by whom.
It is important that all tags are accounted for at all times, i.e. whether they are applied to turtles,
in inventory for future use, in a tagging kit, destroyed (e.g. removed by project staff due to failed
placement, excessive fouling), or lost. If a tag is destroyed, the tag must be archived and kept for
future reference. A tag documented as "destroyed" should always be straightened (flat) to ensure
that there will never be any attempt to place it on a turtle.

Record-keeping tools are provided by the MTTC. For example, Access-based relational
database management software is available through the MTTC upon request (Eckert and Sammy,
2005). The software allows entry of Nesting, Hatching, Capture, Sighting, and Stranding events
and provides a selection of standardised datasheets.


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V. TAG RECOVERY: RETURNING A TAG TO THE MTTC

Tag recovery and reporting is important! Tags removed from dead turtles or numbers recorded
from live turtles should be sent by mail to the return address on the tag: UWI, Dept. Biology,
Barbados. A functional tag should never be removed from a live turtle (see "When Should a
Flipper Tag be Removed?"). All reports of tagged turtles received by the MTTC are
immediately forwarded to a contact person associated with the field project that originally
applied the tag(s). Such notification includes all details reported to the MTTC and a contact
address for the person recovering/ returning the tag.

The MTTC provides a reward in the form of a cap or T-shirt to any person who returns a tag,
along with information on where the turtle was tagged, when and by whom. If more information
is required, the person/organisation who recovered the tag can follow up directly with the Project
who applied it. Colourful posters (below) are available from the MTTC to encourage fishermen,
yachters, divers, and others to report tag numbers read from live turtles and to document and
return tags removed from dead turtles to the MTTC in Barbados.

Plastic and metal flipper tags not distributed through the MTTC can be traced through various
online databases, including:

TAGFINDER http://www.seaturtle.org/tagfinder/
Cooperative Marine Turtle Tagging Program (a global database)
http://accstr.ufl.edu/cmttp.html
Marine Turtles of French Guiana http://www.ese.u-sud.fr/epc/conservation/
pages/TortumarE.html


Page 27


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VI. LITERATURE CITED

Balazs, G. H. 1999. Factors to consider in the tagging of sea turtles, pp. 101-109. In: K. L.
Eckert, K. A. Bjomdal, F. A. Abreu Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds), Research and Management
Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group
Publication No. 4. Washington D.C. [http://www.iucn-mtsg.org/publications/Tech Manual/17-
balazs.pdf]

Beggs, J., B. Krueger and J. A. Horrocks. 2001. Nesting Beach Monitoring Programme Proce-
dures Manual. Barbados Sea Turtle Project, University of the West Indies. Bridgetown,
Barbados. 35 pp. + app.

Bjorkland, R. 2001. Monitoring Population Trends, pp. 137-138. In: K.L. Eckert and F. Alberto
Abreu Grobois (eds), Proceedings of the Regional Meeting: "Marine Turtle conservation in the
Wider Caribbean Region: A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management." Santo Domingo, 16-
18 November 1999. WIDECAST, IUCN-MTSG, WWF, and UNEP-CEP. xx + 154 pp.

Bjorndal, K. A. and A. B. Bolten (eds). 2000. Proceedings of a Workshop on Assessing Abun-
dance and Trends for In-Water Sea Turtle Populations. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFSC-
445. U. S. Department of Commerce. 83 pp.

Bjorndal, K. A., A. B. Bolten, A. Arenas, J. Zurita, A. D'Amiano, C. Calder6n, J. Parsons and J.
A. Seminoff 2003. Green Turtle with Living Tag Captured in the Southern Bahamas. Marine
Turtle Newsletter 101:26. [http://www.seaturtle.org/mtn/archives/mtn 01/mtn101p26.shtml]

Chac6n, D., N. Valerin, M. Virginia Cajiao, H. Gamboa and G. Marin. 2000. Manual para
mejores practices de conservaci6n de las Tortugas marinas en Centramerica. Asoc. ANAI, San
Jose, Costa Rica. 139 pp. [http://www.anaicr.org/paginas/seaturtle/manuales.htm]

CITES. 2002. Report to the range states on the development of hawksbill (Eretmochelys
imbricata) population monitoring protocols for the wider Caribbean. Second CITES wider
Caribbean hawksbill turtle dialogue meeting, Grand Cayman (Cayman Islands), 21-23 May
2002. Document HT2 Doc. 8. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild
Fauna and Flora; Geneva, Switzerland. [http://www.cites.org/eng/prog/HBT/dialogue2/agenda.
shtml]

Dutton, P. and D. McDonald. 1994. Use of PIT tags to identify adult leatherbacks. Marine Turtle
Newsletter 67:13-14. [http://www.seaturtle.org/mtn/archives/mtn67/mtn67p 13.shtml]

Eckert, K. L. and F. A. Abreu Grobois (eds). 2001. Proceedings of the Regional Meeting:
"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region: A Dialogue for Effective Regional
Management." Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999. WIDECAST IUCN-MTSG, WWF, and
UNEP-CEP. xx + 154 pp. [http://www.iucn-mtsg.org/publications/Memorias_RD/ContenidoRD.
htm]


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Eckert, K. L., K. A. Bjomdal, F. A. Abreu Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds). 1999. Research and
Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle
Specialist Group Publication No. 4. Washington D.C. [http://www.iucn-mtsg.org/publications/
Tech Manual/0000%20Table%20of%/20Contents.htm]

Eckert, Scott A. and Dennis Sammy. 2005. WIDECAST Regional Marine Turtle Database:
User's Manual Version 3.0. Beaufort, North Carolina. 60 pp.

Fontaine, C. T., T. D. Williams and C. W. Caillouet. 1988. Scutes reserved for living tags: an
update. Marine Turtle Newsletter 43:8-9. [http://www.seaturtle.org/mtn/archives/mtn43/mtn43
p8.shtml]

Gerrodette, T. and B. L. Taylor. 1999. Estimating population size, pp. 67-71. In: K. L. Eckert,
K. A. Bjomdal, F. A. Abreu Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds), Research and Management
Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group
Publication No. 4. Washington D.C. [http://www.iucn-mtsg.org/Publications/Tech Manual
/Tech_Manualen/12-gerrodette&tavlor.pdf]

Meylan, P., A. Meylan and J. Gray. 2003. Procedures Manual for the Bermuda Turtle Project.
Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo. 37 pp.

Schroeder, B. and S. Murphy. 1999. Population surveys (ground and aerial) on nesting beaches,
pp. 45-55. In: K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds),
Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine
Turtle Specialist Group Publication No. 4. Washington D.C. [http://www.iucn-mtsg.org/
Publications/Tech Manual/Tech Manual en/08-schroeder&murhpy.pdf]

Shaver, D. J. 1996. Head-Started Kemp's Ridley Turtles Nest in Texas. Marine Turtle Newsletter
74:5-7. [http://www.seaturtle.org/mtn/archives/mtn74/mtn74p5.shtml]

Zurita G., J. C., R. Herrera P. and B. Prezas H. 1994. Living tags in three species of sea turtle
hatchlings in the Mexican Caribbean, p.273-277. In: B. A. Schroeder and B. E. Witherington
(Compilers), Proceedings of the Thirteenth Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and
Conservation. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFSC-341. U. S. Dept. Commerce. [http://www.
nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/readingrm/turtlesymp/13turtle.pdf]


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APPENDIX A


APPLYING FOR TAGS FROM THE MTTC


The application process can be completed via mail or email. You may download the Tag
Application Form from http://www.widecast.org or, if you do not have access to the Internet, you
may photocopy the form from this appendix or request a copy from:

Dr. Julia A. Horrocks
Coordinator
WIDECAST Marine Turtle Tagging Centre
University of the West Indies-Cave Hill Campus
P. O. Box 64
Bridgetown, Barbados
Tel: (246) 417-4320
Fax: (246) 417-4325
horrocks@uwichill.edu.bb
http://www.barbadosseaturtles.org


The following documents are required to complete your application:

An Application Form,

A permit (or official letter), which states that the Government of the country in which the
turtles are to be tagged has given permission for tagging to occur,

A WIDECAST/MTTC Tag Training workshop completion certificate, and

A signed Letter of Agreement specifying obligations, restrictions, and proprietary
protections related to reporting and data-sharing.

Please ensure that your completed Tag Application Form and accompanying documentation
reaches the MTTC at least three (3) weeks before you need the tags. After an application has
been received, and all permits and related documents are supplied, your order will be packaged
and sent by courier or airmail to the address supplied on your Tag Application Form. The
MTTC appreciates a refund on mailing costs.

If you have questions concerning how to obtain tags and tagging equipment, how to participate
in the regional tag registry, where to receive training in tagging or general field procedures, or
how to take advantage of the many other services offered by the Centre, please contact the
MTTC Coordinator at horrocks@uwichill.edu.bb or visit us online at http://www.widecast.org/
tagging.


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Eckert & Beggs (2006) Marine Turtle Tagging Manual (rev. ed.) WIDECAST Technical Report No.2


sity of the V4es


Application Form
Marine Turtle Tags and Tagging Equipment

WIDECAST Marine Turtle Tagging Centre (MTTC)


Applicant Name:

Applicant Position:

Applicant Address:

Applicant Tel/Fax/Email:

Project Name:

Project Location (e.g., beach name):

Primary Objective(s): [ ] Research [ ] Conservation [ ] Management

Project Type: [ ] New [ ] Ongoing

Species to be Tagged: [ ] Leatherback [ ] Green [ ] Loggerhead
[ ] Hawksbill [ ] Olive Ridley [ ] Kemp's Ridley

Life Stages Involved: [ ] adults [ ] juveniles [ ] both


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Eckert & Beggs (2006) Marine Turtle Tagging Manual (rev. ed.) WIDECAST Technical Report No.2


Tagging Location:

Tagging History:


[ ] nesting beach [ ]at sea [ ]both

[ ] Regular tagging since
[ ] Irregular tagging since
[ ] The project has not included tagging in the past


If tags have been used in the past, please indicate:


Tag Type:


[] Monel 1005-49 [ ] Monel 1005-6 [ ] Inconel 681
[ ] Titanium [ ] Other


Tag Number Series:
Tag Return Address:


How many tags do you need (based on 2 tags per turtle) on an annual basis?

How many tags are you requesting from the MTTC?

What type of tag are you requesting? [ ] Monel 1005-49 [ ] Inconel 681

Are you requesting tagging applicators (tag pliers)? [ ] Yes [ ] No

If yes, how many tagging applicators do you need?

Adherence to regulatory conditions is important. In many countries, a government
Fisheries or Forestry permit is required for handling sea turtles, gaining access to
the nesting beach or marine research site, and/or conducting a wildlife field
project. Have you applied for such a permit, and do you have it on file?

[ ] Yes (please attach copies) [ ] No

If No, please explain:



Has a member of the Project staff attended a WIDECAST tagging training
workshop? [ ] Yes (please attach a copy of the Course Certificate) [ ] No


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Have you obtained tags from the MTTC in the past? [ ] Yes [ ] No

Do you agree to submit an Annual Tag Fate Report to MTTC* ? [ ] Yes [ ] No

Where should tags/pliers be shipped?





*Annual tag fate reports should preferably be in Excel and provide the following
information at minimum: Left flipper tag number, Right flipper tag number,
Species, Location, Latitude/ Longitude, In-water or Nesting beach project.

Thank you! Please submit to:

Dr. Julia A. Horrocks, Coordinator
WIDECAST Marine Turtle Tagging Centre
University of the West Indies-Cave Hill
P. Box 64, Bridgetown, BARBADOS
Tel: (246) 417-4320, Fax: (246) 417-4325
Email horrocks@uwichill edu. bb
cc: keckert@widecast.org



For office use only: Date of Application:

MTTC Shipment Confirmation:
Tag Type:
Number of Tags:
Tag Series:

Tag Type:
Number of Tags:
Tag Series:

Number of Applicators:

Date Shipped:
Shipping Method:

Customs Letter Enclosed: [ ] Yes [ ] No


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APPENDIX B


FLIPPER TAG MANUFACTURERS

At the time of writing, WIDECAST's Marine Turtle Tagging Centre (MTTC) inventories
Inconel and Monel flipper tags manufactured by National Bank and Tag Company. Neither
titanium tags nor plastic tags are currently inventoried; however, under some circumstances and
for certain research objectives, plastic tags can be quite useful. For additional information about
the various types of flipper tags (sold commercially as livestock ear tags), contact:

Dalton ID Systems (UK) Limited
Dalton House, Newtown Road
Henley-on-Thames, Oxon RG9 1HG
ENGLAND
http://www.dalton.co.uk/index.htm

National Band and Tag Company
721 York Street (P.O. Box 72430)
Newport, Kentucky 41072 USA
http://www.nationalband.com/nbtear.htm

Stockbrands Co. Pty. Ltd.
53 Edward Street, Osborne Park
Western Australia 6017
AUSTRALIA
http://www.fmb.com.au/index.html?target=dept 87.html&lang=en-gb


PIT TAG MANUFACTURERS

Avid Identification Systems, Inc.
3185 Hamner Ave.
Norco, California 92860 USA
http://www.AvidID.comhttp://www.ezidavid.com/products.htm

Biomark, Inc.
7615 West Riverside Drive
Boise, Idaho 83714 USA
http://www.biomark.com/

Trovan Electronic Identification Systems
See http://www.trovan.com/contacts.htm for national offices
See http://www.trovan.com/productsuni.htm for product information


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APPENDIX C


FIBROPAPILLOMA DISEASE: WHAT TO DO WITH A
FIBROPAPILLOMA-BEARING SEA TURTLE 1)

SAMPLE PROTOCOL: BERMUDA TURTLE PROJECT

Sea turtle fibropapilloma disease (FP) is a debilitating and sometimes fatal disease of sea turtles.
It is seen most often in green turtles but is also known to occur in loggerheads and ridleys. It is
currently unknown from Bermuda. However, because so little is known about the natural routes
of transmission of FP, it is best at this time to work on the assumption that it is highly
communicable and take appropriate precautions. A presentation given at the 19th Annual Sea
Turtle Symposium recommends that researchers make every attempt to keep the disease out of
populations where it does not now occur. The following protocol has been developed to reduce
the possibility of fibropapilloma becoming established in Bermuda.

Recognizing fibropapilloma disease: Fibropapilloma disease is most easily recognized by the
external tumor-like growths that it produces. These can occur on any of the soft tissues of the
turtle but are most commonly seen on the softest areas of the head and neck, especially around
the eyes, and at the base of the fore and hind flippers. They will appear as pea-sized to grape-
fruit-sized growths, variable in color but usually pink to red, or gray to black. They often have a
floral appearance, with a surface texture like a head of cauliflower, but may also be smooth.
These tumors are well vascularized and will bleed readily when cut or abraded by the net

Preventing the spread offibropapilloma disease: Healthy turtles with no evidence of the external
tumor-like growths can carry the virus that apparently causes FP as well as other pathogenic
agents of sea turtles. Thus, we must continue to use extreme caution with the body fluids of the
sea turtles we handle. The tagging punch must be cleared of tissue and the punch and tag
applicators disinfected with mild bleach solution after every turtle. Blood or other body fluids
from one turtle should not be allowed to get on another turtle during sampling or at any other
time. Do not use syringe needles or other instruments that break the skin (e.g.., PIT tag
applicators, tagging punch) on multiple animals without disinfecting them thoroughly between
animals. Frequent hand wiping with sanitizing hand wipes is recommended.

Capture ofa papilloma-bearing turtle in the entrapment net: A turtle with obvious FP should not
be placed directly in the catch boat, especially with other turtles. It seems likely that if we see
FP it will appear in newly arrived, smaller turtles. We should handle the turtle with gloves and
put the turtle (and used gloves) into the equipment bucket (removing the GPS and other
equipment first) in order to isolate the turtle. The bucket should be scrubbed thoroughly with a
10% Clorox solution before being used again.

Turtles with obvious FP should not be taken on board [the research vessel] Calamus or to the
Aquarium. The virus that is associated with the disease may survive for long periods outside of
the host, especially if it is kept wet or moist. Thus, thorough treatment of all possibly infected
surfaces with detergents, disinfectants, or prolonged drying would be required to make certain


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that the disease would not be transmitted. Thus, all possibly infected turtles should be kept away
from all areas where turtles are kept, including the decks of the catch-boat and Calamus, and the
Aquarium, its tanks, and its water system.

A live turtle with FP should not be tagged, weighed or measured. It should be photo-
documented, appropriate samples of the tumors should be taken and preserved directly in 10%
buffered formalin without being frozen, and the animal should be removed from contact with all
other sea turtles and kept out of any facility that houses sea turtles. If the affected turtle has a
heavy tumor burden that seems clearly to be FP and the animal is seriously debilitated,
euthanization should be considered by the government veterinarian. Samples of several tumors
should be preserved in 10% buffered formalin. If the tumor burden is small or there is suspicion
that the tumor is not FP, them the animal should be isolated and appropriate samples taken for
assessment. If found to have FP, the diseased animal could be sent to an appropriate facility (i.e.
Turtle Hospital in the Florida Keys) for further observation and possible rehabilitation.

It will be very important to confirm any possible cases of FP. This can best be done by
collecting biopsies for complete pathological evaluation. Thus, a biopsy kit with gloves, 10%
buffered formalin, appropriate-sized vials, scalpels, a small plastic ruler, and Clorox for clean up,
should be assembled. This could be used for taking samples from a badly infected individual
after it was euthanized, a mildly affected individual that would remain in isolation until the
samples could be examined, or a dead stranded animal with suspicious tumors.

Stranding of a papilloma-bearing turtle: If a papilloma-bearing turtle is dead when it strands, it
should be photo-documented at the stranding site. Photographs should be made of all surfaces,
and a description recorded of the tumors, including measurements. If the turtle is fresh enough, a
necropsy should be performed provided that the necropsy can be done under isolation conditions
to avoid contaminating facilities where turtles are kept. If a complete necropsy cannot be
performed, then a sample of the suspect tumor should be preserved in formalin for pathologic
evaluation and the carcass disposed of (incinerated or buried on land). Even if the carcass is too
poor to necropsy, get a sample of suspect tissue and dispose of the rest.

Any time that a suspect turtle is handled, all equipment used during handling and necropsy
should be disinfected with 10% Clorox before being returned to the Aquarium. Gloves must be
worn at all times. Do not transport the carcass using Aquarium vehicles and do not transport to
the Aquarium for necropsy or freezing.

If a papilloma-bearing turtle strands alive, isolate it in a suitable-sized container at an appropriate
location and take biopsies of suspect tissue for evaluation. The turtle should remain in isolation
until the evaluation of the biopsy is complete. Based on the biopsies and the extent of any
infection, a decision will be made as to whether the turtle should be euthanized or sent to an
outside facility for rehabilitation.



(1) Source: excerpted from Meylan, P., A. Meylan and J. Gray. 2003. Procedures Manual for the Bermuda Turtle
Project. Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo. 37 pp.


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APPENDIX D


SELECTED PEER-REVIEWED LITERATURE ON
SEA TURTLE TAGGING
(Does not include references already listed in the Literature Cited section of this manual.)

Alvarado, J., A. Figueroa and P. Alarcon. 1988. Black Turtle Project in Michoacan, Mexico:
Plastic vs. Metal Tags. Marine Turtle Newsletter 42:5-6. [http://www.seaturtle.org/mtn/archives/
mtn42/mtn42p5.shtml]

Balazs, G. H. 1978. Tattooing green turtles. Marine Turtle Newsletter 8:3. [http://www.seaturtle.
org/mtn/archives/mtn8/mtn8p3a. shtml]

Balazs, G. H. 1985. Retention of flipper tags on hatchling sea turtles. Herp. Review 16(2):43-45.

Bellini, C., M. H. Godfrey and T. M. Sanches. 2001. Metal tag loss in wild juvenile hawksbill
sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata). Herpetological Review 32(3): 172-174.

Bjorndal, K. A., A. B. Bolten, C. J. Lagueux and A. Chaves. 1996. Probability of tag loss in
green turtles nesting at Tortuguero, Costa Rica. Journal of Herpetology 30(4):567-571.

Eckert, K. L. 1987. Tag loss and the estimation of sea turtle abundance. ASB Bull. 34 (2):120.

Eckert, K. L. and S. A. Eckert. 1989. The application of plastic tags to leatherback sea turtles,
Dermochelys coriacea. Herpetological Review 20(4):90-91.

Eckert, K. A. and S. A. Eckert. 1990. Tagging Hatchling Leatherback Sea Turtles. Marine Turtle
Newsletter 51:17-19. [http://www.seaturtle.org/mtn/archives/mtn51/mtn51pl7.shtml]

Frazer, N. B. 1983. Survivorship of adult female loggerhead sea turtles, Caretta caretta, nesting
on Little Cumberland Island, Georgia, USA. Herpetologica 39(4):436-447.

Godley, B. J., A. C. Broderick and S. Moraghan. 1999. Short-term effectiveness of Passive
Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags used in the study of Mediterranean marine turtles. Chelonian
Conservation and Biology 3(3):477-479.

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E WIDECAST
Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network

"Working together to build a future where all inhabitants
of the Wider Caribbean Region, human and sea turtle
alike, can live together in balance."


The Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST) is a volunteer expert
network and Partner Organization to the U.N. Environment Programme's Caribbean Environ-
ment Programme. WIDECAST was founded in 1981 in response to a recommendation by the
IUCN/CCA Meeting of Non-Governmental Caribbean Organizations on Living Resources
Conservation for Sustainable Development in the Wider Caribbean (Santo Domingo, 26-29
August 1981) that a "Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plan should be prepared ...
consistent with the Action Plan for the Caribbean Environment Programme."

WIDECAST's vision for achieving a regional recovery action plan has focused on bringing the
best available science to bear on sea turtle management and conservation, empowering
stakeholders to make effective use of that science in the policy-making process, and providing a
mechanism and a framework for cooperation within and among nations. By involving stake-
holders at all levels and encouraging policy-oriented research, WIDECAST puts science to
practical use in conserving biodiversity and advocates for grassroots involvement in decision-
making and project implementation.

Through information exchange and training, WIDECAST promotes strong linkages between
science, policy, and public participation in the design and implementation of conservation
actions. The network recommends standards for range state adoption, develops pilot projects,
provides technical assistance, supports initiatives that build capacity within participating coun-
tries and institutions, and promotes coordination among Caribbean countries in the collection,
sharing and use of biodiversity data. Working closely with local communities and resource
managers, the network has developed standard management guidelines and criteria that
emphasize best practices and sustainability, ensuring that current utilization practices, whether
consumptive or non-consumptive, do not undermine sea turtle survival over the long term.

With Country Coordinators in more than 40 Caribbean States and territories, WIDECAST has
been instrumental in facilitating complementary conservation action across range states,
strengthening and harmonizing legislation, encouraging community involvement, and raising
public awareness of the endangered status of the region's six species of migratory sea turtles.
Country Coordinators are drawn from both the governmental and non-governmental sectors,
and must have sea turtle research and/or management experience and responsibility.


WWW.WIDECAST.ORG




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