Solo the leatherback turtle

SOLO the leatherback arrives in Vanuatu

Solo, the leatherback turtle has arrived in Vanuatu.

Satellite tracking updates received from TNC (The Nature Conservancy) revealed Solo arrived in Luganville, Vanuatu on Tuesday 24th January, 2023.

After nesting five times at Haevo nesting grounds (Isabel province) in the Solomon Islands between November (2022) and early January this year, Solo left Haevo beach on the 8th of January and migrated eastward off Solomon Islands waters through Malaita, Makira and Temotu provinces.

TNC Melanesian Program Director, Richard Hamilton said after more than two weeks (16 days), Solo the leatherback arrived safely in Luganville, Vanuatu.

“Solo has swum over 1000km since departing Haevo beach – its nesting grounds in January.

“Solo is swimming at a pace of 60 – 70km per day is now in Vanuatu,” Mr Hamilton said.

The Pacific Games Organizing Committee’s CEO, Peter Stewart said, “The opportunity that modern technology provides to allow us to track the movements of Solo is a wonderful innovation.”

“These creatures are so important to the culture and biodiversity of Solomon Islands and the Pacific region, that the greater understanding of how they live can only assist us al in doing our best to help these turtles to survive in these challenging times,” he said.

Solo is a 167cm long female leatherback turtle named after the 2023 Pacific Games Official Mascot.

Part of a bale of leatherbacks that migrated to Solomon Islands waters to nest in October last year, she was named and fitted with a satellite tag as part of the TNC’s partnership with the Pacific Games Organizing Committee (GOC) – TNC being the official sponsors of Games Mascot naming competition mid-last year.

Satellite tags are used to track migratory movement of leatherback turtles from their feeding to their breeding grounds. It is aimed at collecting information of the leatherbacks through tracking and analysing turtle movements during their nesting and post nesting season.

Female leatherback turtles are known to nest in intervals of two to three years.
TNC will continue to provide tracking updates of Solo until Games time, November this year.

The 2023 Pacific Games (Sol2023) will be held from 19 November to the 2nd of December this year.

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