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SEA TURTLE TRACKING TIED TO G-8 SUMMIT

Georgia elementary school children will be able to follow the travels of loggerhead sea turtles in honor of the Group of Eight Summit on Sea Island.

The summit June 8-10 coincides with sea turtle nesting season along state beaches, including Sea Island. Protected by law, loggerheads are the most prevalent sea turtle species to nest in Georgia.

Scientists with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources studying the marine creatures will fit a dozen female nesting loggerheads with satellite tracking devices.

Children in grades K-5 will be able to name each of the turtles, then track their movements at a Web site.

Beth Brown, a DNR spokeswoman, said the final names selected for the turtles will be representative of the countries participating in the summit: the United States, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada and Russia.

The turtles will be captured and equipped with the transmitters after laying their eggs on Cumberland Island and Sapelo Island, said Mark Dodd, a DNR wildlife biologist and sea turtle project coordinator.

"Unfortunately very little is known about the migratory movements and habitat usage of loggerhead sea turtles," Dodd said. "We hope the information gathered from the tagged turtles will help wildlife management agencies develop strategies to aid in the long-term recovery of this species," Dodd said. …