Her last transmission by satellite tag was in 2008, somewhere near the mouth of the Rewa River. The loss of transmission could be a result of numerous factors; from being captured by fishermen, satellite tag falling off, turtle dying a natural death and many more. The team at Mamanuca Environment Society were convinced that Adi Mamanuca was captured at the mouth of the Rewa River, after 270 days of transmitting.
However this assumption will have to cease. Adi Mamanuca with its flipper tags firmly attached made a miraculous appearance, crawling up the beach at Bounty Island Resort attempting to nest after 6 years. Her identity was confirmed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme.
Adi Mamanuca a hawksbill which nested on 20th Feb 2008 on South Seas Island, was satellite tagged and released on 2nd March 2008 on Treasure Island, in the Mamanuca group. This is a remigration nester coming back to nest after 6 or 7 years according to Catherine Siota – a turtle database officer at SPREP based in Samoa.
The Mamanuca Environment Society could not be more elated with such good news, as they are currently conducting Turtle biological surveys throughout the Mamanuca islands as part of the wider Mamanuca Sea Turtle Conservation Project. The MES team for the past two weeks have been camping out in uninhabited islands and resorts that are known nesting sites in the Mamanucas. The team conduct beach patrols at night, in the hope of sighting turtles crawling up the beach to nest and by day the team is kept busy surveying the island, conducting beach profiling, sea grass survey and plant identification at each nesting sites. So far the MES team have conducted turtle biological surveys in the islands of Malamala, Mana, Navini and Monuriki and witness nesters, nest among coastal bushes and hatchling finding their way to sea on the beach. “The return of Adi Mamanuca after six years gives the MES team another boost in continuing the work of turtle conservation, and is a beacon of hope in the return of other nesters to nesting sites in the Mamanuca” said Marica Vakacola, MES Project Manager.
MES is pleading to the public to look out and avoid disturbing turtles and their nests during this peak season of turtle nesting in Fiji respect the Turtle Moratorium under the Fisheries Act (CAP 158). The MES team will continue with the Turtle Biological survey this week at 3 more nesting sites and will be camping at Namotu, Tavarua and South Sea Island.