Carmel Magazine

Spring/Summer 2020

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Page 127 of 155

126 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • S P R I N G / S U M M E R 2 0 1 9 George Shillinger co-authored the children's book The Grande Turtle Adventure, illustrating the leatherback's plight. He has spent a lifetime in scientific research. When he learned about the plight of these turtles, he was moved to co-found Upwell. Photo: George Schillinger better understand the species' behavior. To that end, Upwell is engaged in an ambitious program of tracking that entails tagging the animals with satellite transmitters so their wide-ranging movements can be analyzed. A boat is directed to individuals that have been located by spotter aircraft. Scientists safely capture the huge ani- mals, take blood samples for analysis, and attach harmless tracking devices. Maximum time out of the water is 45 minutes. "We want to minimize handling time as much as possible," Shillinger says. Upwell is concentrating on studying leather- backs between the Monterey area and the Farallon Islands west of San Francisco, and Shillinger says that his organization has gathered significant data in just a few years. "Before ours and others' tracking work, there was zero information about leatherback move- ment and habits." But there's lots more to be done. "We have our work cut out for us in terms of raising awareness of how important it is to conserve these animals." For further information on the plight of the leatherback turtle and how we can aid in their preservation, visit Photo: George Schillinger Photo: Christine Shillinger

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