Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Satellite tracking highlights difficulties in the design of effective protected areas for Critically Endangered leatherback turtles Dermochelys coriacea during the inter-nesting period

  • Matthew J. Witt (a1), Annette C. Broderick (a1), Michael S. Coyne (a2), Angela Formia (a3), Solange Ngouessono (a4), Richard J. Parnell (a5), Guy-Philippe Sounguet (a6) and Brendan J. Godley (a1)...

The globally distributed leatherback turtle Dermochelys coriacea is subject to fisheries bycatch throughout its range. Protection from fisheries within pelagic foraging habitats is difficult to achieve but may be more tractable when populations are concentrated near neritic breeding and nesting grounds. We used satellite telemetry to describe patterns of habitat utilization during the inter-nesting period for seven leatherback turtles nesting at Mayumba National Park in Gabon on the equatorial West African coast. The National Park includes critical nesting grounds and a marine protected area to 15 km offshore. Turtles dispersed widely from the nesting beach spending a mean of 62 ± SD 26% of tracking time outside the confines of the National Park. This propensity to disperse is likely to increase the chance of deleterious interactions with fisheries in the region. Patterns of habitat utilization indicate the need for wider spatial scale planning on the West African continental shelf to enhance protection of leatherback turtles when they are seasonally occupying these habitats in great numbers for breeding and nesting.

Corresponding author
*Marine Turtle Research Group, Centre for Ecology & Conservation, University of Exeter - Cornwall Campus, Penryn, Cornwall, TR10 9EZ, UK. E-mail
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

M.A. Burgman & J.C Fox . (2003) Bias in species range estimates from minimum convex polygons: implications for conservation and options for improved planning. Animal Conservation, 6, 1928.

A. Carranza , A. Domingo & A Estrades . (2006) Pelagic longlines: a threat to sea turtles in the Equatorial Eastern Atlantic. Biological Conservation, 131, 5257.

S.A Eckert . (2006) High-use oceanic areas for Atlantic leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) as identified using satellite telemetered location and dive information. Marine Biology, 149, 12571267.

M.A. Hall , D.L. Alverson & K.I Metuzals . (2000) By-catch: problems and solutions. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 41, 204219.

K.D. Hyrenbach , K.A. Forney & P.K Dayton . (2000) Marine protected areas and ocean basin management. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 10, 437458.

M.C. James , R.A. Myers & C.A Ottensmeyer . (2005) Behaviour of leatherback sea turtles, Dermochelys coriacea, during the migratory cycle. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 272, 15471555.

M.J. Witt , A.C. Broderick , D.J. Johns , C. Martin , R. Penrose , M.S. Hoogmoed & B.J Godley . (2007) Prey landscapes help identify potential foraging habitats for leatherback turtles in the northeast Atlantic. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 337, 231244.

G.C. Hays , S. Åkesson , B.J. Godley , P. Luschi & P Santidrian . (2001) The implications of location accuracy for the interpretation of satellite-tracking data. Animal Behaviour, 61, 10351040.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 0030-6053
  • EISSN: 1365-3008
  • URL: /core/journals/oryx
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 4
Total number of PDF views: 18 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 216 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 22nd June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.