Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tortoise movements

We’re in our final round of downloading the tortoise GPS loggers. Some of the tortoises, including Klever mentioned previously, are proving difficult to get because of their distance up the peak. Fabricio has now claimed the title of highest elevation tortoise at 580 m! The trek combined with the rain makes it so that we are only able to get to and download one logger a day… Just four left. We are seeing some patterns in a few of the tortoises movements. A few of the large males are making large circling patterns and returning to the introduction point. What are they searching for and why do they return? A couple of them are apparently looking for mates as they will mount anything in sight. Javier, one of the biggest tortoises with a satellite transmitter, has been hanging out near the introduction point for a few days after a jaunt to the north. He lies about most conspicuously in the area where we prepare ourselves for our work. We can’t tell if he is saying goodbye or asking us to take him with us.

With one week left, we are pushing the limits of our field gear…everyone’s boots are falling apart in various ways. Either the leather is ripping or the soles are flopping off or just wearing through. All the rain and wetness doesn’t help, I’m sure. Our shoe glue has been expended, now we must trust to duct tape!

A short-eared owl has been gracing us with its presence at camp. They aren’t residents on Pinta, and we’re not even sure if they’re common visitors. What does he eat here? Maybe the ten-inch centipedes…

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