Sea Turtle Tracking

Sea Turtle Hospital at UF Whitney Laboratory staff have released two special sea turtles, Richard Dawkins (November 4, 2020) and Asparagus (July 20, 2021), who were outfitted with satellite transmitters and released from the beach on the border of St Johns and Flagler counties.

Asparagus' Story

Tracking Update

Asparagus' transmitter is currently collecting data and the tracking map will be updated and shared as soon as we receive the first set of location data.


Sea Turtle Hospital at UF Whitney Laboratory staff released a very special sea turtle July 20, 2021. Asparagus, a green sea turtle and the Hospital’s 1st release of 2021, was outfitted with a satellite transmitter and released from the beach on the border of St Johns and Flagler counties.

Asparagus is a large juvenile green turtle that stranded on Flagler Beach March 10. She is currently our largest patient in the hospital. Asparagus had a thin body condition on arrival with 95% of carapace (shell) covered in epibiota (barnacles, brown algae, and green algae). During her initial examination, she showed moderate to severe pneumonia and Fibropapilloma (FP) tumors on her right eye, neck, front flippers, and both lower flipper regions. After weeks of intensive fluid therapy with vitamin supplements and a combination of antibiotics, her bloodwork and pneumonia started to improve.

Asparagus was then well enough to transport off site to Precision Imaging Center for CT scan. CT results showed her pneumonia was resolved and no signs of internal lesions. Asparagus had three FP tumor removal surgeries and did well in rehab. Asparagus is now tumor free has returned to her ocean home!

Tracking green turtles of Asparagus’ size, particularly during the winter months will provide important project data about where turtles of this size go in the winter and where they eat.


Richard's Story

Sea Turtle Hospital at UF Whitney Laboratory staff released a very special sea turtle November 4, 2020 at 12:56 p.m. “Richard Dawkins,” a green sea turtle and the Hospital’s 36th patient of 2020, was outfitted with a satellite transmitter and released from the beach on the border of St Johns and Flagler counties.

Richard stranded on April 22 and underwent rehabilitation at the Sea Turtle Hospital at Whitney Laboratory. When Richard stranded, she was debilitated and impacted by tumors characteristic of the Fibropapillomatosis disease, a disease the Hospital treats and researches. 

Upon arrival at the Hospital, the team did not know the gender of the turtle. As the Hospital is celebrating its fifth year and adopted a scientists naming theme, the turtle was named after Evolutionary Biologist Richard Dawkins. However, after the Veterinarian examined Richard, looking for internal tumors, it was determined that Richard is in fact a female. 

Tracking green turtles of Richard’s size, particularly during the winter months will provide important project data about where turtles of this size go in the winter and where they eat.


Satellite Tracking Richard


This tagging opportunity is a collaboration between the Sea Turtle Hospital at UF Whitney LaboratorySouth Carolina Department of Natural Resources and Sea Turtle Conservancy. Richard is part of a project to track green sea turtles in the South Atlantic Bight - offshore waters between North Carolina and Florida.

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