Inspired by a feeding method from the Sea Turtle Hospital in Florida, the organisation has built new « drawning feeders » for our sea turtles in rehabilitation without having to be in contact with them. These feeders were made from plastic fence to be able to fix the food (fish, squid, salad…) and some weights to make them sink.
Two shapes were tested : a tube-shaped feeder and a square-shaped feeder. A small rope attached to the feeders allows us to set up the feeder and to remove it when the feeder is empty without having to go in the water.
This new method will be used to complement our actual feeding method that consists of throwing food items in the rehabilitation lagoon from the bridge to limit human interactions and to better prepare them for the wild. As we observed that our turtles were wandering at the bottom of the lagoon looking for small algaes to eat, we were curious to have them try the new feeders. This method also allows us to eliminate the issue of the birds try to catch sea turtle food at the surface.
Aina, Fatu, Bob and Luce, young turtles saved from bottom of nests during the nesting monitoring in Tetiaroa last year, particularly appreciated the new feeders !