Meet Sputnik the Hawksbill Sea Turtle

Happy World Turtle Day!

To celebrate we would like to introduce you to Sputnik! Sputnik is one of the turtles being tracked by the Palm Beach Zoo's Florida Hawksbill Project run by PBZoo Conservation Biologist Larry Wood.

Sputnik, as named by a local diver/photographer, is a sub-adult Hawksbill turtle that lives on a reef known as the "Breakers Reef", in about 60' of water just offshore of Palm Beach. 

Larry first captured and tagged this turtle with regular flipper tags in October of 2010. Last September, he was seeking resident turtles to study more closely, and Sputnik happened to become one of three Hawksbills to carry a satellite transmitter that tracks their movements. 

Since then, Sputnik has been seen and photographed a number of times by local divers in the same part of the reef where she had been released. Last Saturday, while with a dive group visiting from Maryland to participate in the Zoo's sea turtle education program, Larry encountered Sputnik and was able to retrieve the transmitter (see photo insert). 

Though it has been sending data since its deployment, the unit itself stores many times more information which can be downloaded in its entirety. The transmitter can then be refurbished and re-deployed for repeat use. 

Read more about the Palm Beach Zoo's Florida Hawksbill Research Program online: or

NOTE: The handling of this critically endangered Hawksbill sea turtle was done under a Florida State Permit provided to The Comprehensive Florida Hawksbill Research and Conservation Program run by Larry Wood. 

WARNING: Under NO circumstances should you ever harass, ride, or otherwise disturb a sea turtle. Severe penalties including jail time will be imposed.

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