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Mama Onu migrates to Fiji
After weeks of steadily swimming westward, Palmerston's Mama Onu reached her feeding grounds on 01 April, 2001. Mama Onu swam a total of 2148km in fifty-two days to reach Vatulele Island, Fiji.

'Friends: Yes, indeed, this is the turtle's Home Sweet Home- Vatulele Island, Fiji.

May she graze the Fijian seagrass in peace after her long ocean voyage and successful nestings in the warm sands of Palmerston. May her baby hatchlings help to repopulate all the waters of the Pacific- for the benefit of the species and the Pacific Island peoples. May she live and thrive long enough to once again migrate back to Palmerston to breed in coming years. Aloha, George'

George Balazs , 03 April, 2001

Mama Onu is the first turtle from the Cook Islands which has been satellite tracked. Knowing her path westward offers us the first glimpse of the migratory pathways of Cook Islands turtles. Her long migration demonstrates that green turtles of the Cook Islands are shared resources which need to be protected internationally.

Close-up of Mama Onu's track as of 13 March. Notice that she paused in Tonga for a few days on her way west. Mama Onu's tag will continue to transmit her position as she forages around Vatulele Island, Fiji until the batteries wear out. She probably will remain feeding there for several years before returning to Palmerston to nest again. However, she may surprise us yet!

Mama Onu's maps were generated by Denise Parker and George Balazs of the NOAA/NMFS Honolulu Laboratory. Mama Onu's location data were received from the satellite transmitter mounted on her shell.


© Center for Cetacean Research and Conservation, 2004