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Monaco’s Oceanographic Institute has lost track of its sea turtle Rana

The scientists and specialists of Monaco’s Oceanographic Institute have recently lost track of a loggerhead sea turtle named Rana. They had released it into the sea at the beginning of the summer in their first attempt of GPS tracking a sea turtle. 

© B. NavezSince 9th August, Rana’s GPS tracker stopped sending any signal. Last time the Oceanographic Institute scientists received any signal from Rana, it was swimming near the coast of Spain, south of Tarragone, a city about 100km away from Valencia 

Even though the reason behind the loss of signal remains unknown, three hypotheses have emerged so far. For the scientists of Oceanographic Institute, the tracker might have been altered during one of Rana’s searches for food, where the turtle could have rubbed it on a structure of any kind. Another hypothesis is that the tracker had simply fallen from Rana’s shell, and therefore gone back to the surface, from where it cannot send any signal. 

The third and last hypothesis the specialists could come up with, was that the GPS tracker simply stopped working. This possibility however, remains the least plausible as they explained that the autonomy for a tracker like the one they used is usually about 2 years.

Rana was taken in back in 2014 in the Port Hercules in Monaco, where it was found in a rather critical health condition. Rana spent 4 years in the Oceanographic Institute where she was being taken care of. She was put back into sea on 19th June with a GPS tracker fixed on her shell, in a way for the scientists to collect all kinds of scientific data about the ocean and the turtle.They have thus been able to track Rana for a little bit more than a month, in her journey through the Mediterranean coast, where she travelled around 30km a day.

Leïla Zemirli