Farewell to Hermes!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

(Virginia Beach, VA) – Last Friday, members of the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response staff released a loggerhead sea turtle off the coast by boat. Its name and special transmitter is what makes this release unique.


After several days of reports at different locations near Lynnhaven Inlet, this loggerhead sea turtle stranded in Virginia Beach Nov 25, 2013. Since it wandered around before finally being picked up near the Lesner Bridge, the staff named it “Hermes” after the Greek god of travel.


But what really makes Hermes special is that he is sporting a high tech satellite transmitter donated by Sea Mammal Research Unit, a tag manufacturer in Scotland with whom the Aquarium staff has been working on research projects. Instead of a heavy battery, the tag has three small solar chargers for power. This makes the tag much lighter than similar models that have a D-cell battery.


“We are testing this tag to see if turtle behavior in our area allows for proper charging of these great new tags,” said Virginia Aquarium Research Coordinator and Senior Scientist Susan Barco. Hermes is also tagged with a small acoustic tag as part of a research project with the U.S. Navy. Hermes' movements can be followed at http://www.seaturtle.org/tracking/?tag_id=138112.


The Stranding Response Team also recently released “Crush of Aeres” and “Sausilito.” Crush's movements can be viewed at http://www.seaturtle.org/tracking/index.shtml?tag_id=120347.


The Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Program’s mission is to promote the conservation of marine animal species through stranding response, research, rehabilitation and education. It is largely a volunteer-based group operating from the Aquarium’s Marine Animal Care Center in Virginia Beach. The program is supported by the Virginia Aquarium Foundation through donations from the community, and grant-making organizations. To report a dead or live stranded marine mammal or sea turtle call the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Program 24-hour hotline at (757) 385-7575.


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