Turtle Tag and Turtle Camera Enclosure Development to Help Save Sea Turtles
In the beginning of 2016 we have finished first series of open source turtle tag enclosures for Zoological Society of London. The tags, nicknamed “Pitstop tags” because of the design that enables researchers to “swap” a tag out and replace it with a freshly charged one, have been tested by Alasdair Davies from Zoological Society of London in collaboration with Principe Trust Foundation and researchers from the University of Exeter. Open source solution to track and acquire spatial and behavioral data of the endangered green sea turtles turned out to be a great alternative to commercial tags, but we decided to take it a step further and thus created turtle camera enclosure.
Green sea turtles are classified as Endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Threats include habitat destruction and the loss of their nesting beaches, plastic pollution in the ocean and bycatch through commercial fishing practices.
In the new generation of turtle tags we have tried to improve the sealing of the enclosure. We have changed the seal; the new generation is using silicone seal instead of polyurethane seal baked onto aluminum plate. The silicone seal has proved to be more effective and easier and cheaper to manufacture.
In addition to the turtle tag, we have also developed a turtle camera enclosure, an enclosure that enables the researchers to attach Raspberry Pi camera to the sea turtles. Thanks to the modular build turtle camera enclosure uses the same base plate as turtle tag and is therefore easily interchangeable.
In the next stage we are planning to put turtle tags through extensive testing in the lab as well as in the actual environment. We hope that the project will not only help designing better strategies for the conservation of green see turtles, but also show the potential of open source technologies and the sharing of knowledge to revolutionize the monitoring of species.