Monitoring Marine Turtles on Rapa Nui
By Rocío Álvarez & Camila González – Esmoi
Rapa Nui is a feeding ground for the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) and the hawksbill sea turtle, (Eretmochelys imbricata), both species considered in danger of extinction. Since 2014, Camila González-Johannes, a diving instructor at the
ORCA Diving Center, with the support of Dr. Rocío Álvarez, a veterinarian and researcher with the Ecology and Sustainable Management of Oceanic Islands – ESMOI, is leading a program of photo-identification of the sea turtles on the Island. The
project is based on recognition of individuals through underwater photographs, which show the pattern of facial scales on both cheeks and the scars on the shell, fins and head (Figure 1). To date, we have been able to estimate around the Island a total of 41 green sea turtles and, at least, 4 hawksbill sea turtles.
of the turtles. In addition, we need to study the diseases that could be contagious between animal species and human beings (zoonoses) and systematically monitor the quality of the water in the coastal areas that have the greatest human traffic, since the turtles can serve as biological indicators of environmental contamination.
community. Only by studying their ecology, their origin and their conservation can we propose alternatives for their protection which will permit us to maintain the
population of sea turtles over the long term, both on a local level as well as in our region of the Pacific Ocean. We should never forget that on Rapa Nui, as in other
islands of Polynesia and the Pacific, the sea turtles have been part of the cultural identity since ancient times and are represented in the art, mythology, symbolism, popular traditions and in ritual and spiritual life.
So please, visitors … Leave your rubbish in the appropriate places. Don’t feed the turtles or any other marine species. Respect the ocean and all its biodiversity. Don’t forget that it is part of our natural heritage.
In the sand of Rapa Nui there are animals so small that they can hardly be seen with the bare eye. You need a microscope to see them. These animals live in the small spaces between sand grains.
PUREThe Endangered Sea Snailby Ernesto Díaz CabreraEstudiante Doctorado en Ciencias, mención Ecología y Biología Evolutiva de la Universidad de ChileDoctoral candidate in Science of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of ChilePure is a sea snail which has...
Magnetism on Rapa NuiAmong the sites most visited for their supposed magnetism are the large oval rock called Te Pito Kura and a section of the road to Anakena, about half a kilometer from the beach. Illusion or reality? What do the scientists say?by Cristian Moreno...