Back in 2010, we took you to Gales Point Manatee for a look at tagging of the Hawksbill Turtles. It's an initiative from the Gales Point Wildlife Sanctuary and their international partners to study and protect this endangered species of majestic animals which can live for more than a hundred years.

Well, the sanctuary has been quietly doing their work of monitoring the turtles, and today, they invited us back to see the progress they've been making. We got a chance to meet "Meeko", the latest wild turtle captured in Belizean waters, and Daniel Ortiz reports:

Daniel Ortiz reporting
This device is a GPS tag, used by scientists to track the migratory patterns of animals, and in this case, an endangered turtle species.

Here on the beaches of Gales Point Manatee, the turtles come very often to nest, and that's where the Belizean and American conservationists caught this female Hawksbill. She's being fitted with the tag, which will transmit data for 2 years on her location as she travels the seas, carrying on with her very long life.

That's impressive seeing as we're in the village and not even our BTL phones can get a signal but this transmitter does just fine. The experts explain that there is no place too remote for the tracker to uplink the turtle's location data.

Kevin Andrewin - Chair, Gales Point Wildlife Sanctuary
"We are using a different tag this year. This is the 1st time I get to see these tags, normally we use a bigger tag but now we broke down the size of the tags."

Dr. Todd Rimkus, Ph.D. - Professor, Marymount University, Arlington, Virginia
"Its a little bit more aerodynamic it will swim through the water easier on the turtles back and its got some nice bumpers on it. So, when the turtle is bumping up against coral it doesn't wear off the antenna and so will keep a signal and hopefully will get a signal for 2 full years. So, we are hoping that we get that extended time this year. The only time that the tag is actually turned on is when there's 2 little switches at the top and then when the salt water breaks and then dries when the animal surfaces to breath it spits out information to the satellites around. It grab a satellite tag and transmits that information quickly to the sky and hopefully that uses just a very small amount of battery and then the turtle goes back underneath the water."

Dr. Todd Rimkus, who has been at this for 10 years now, brought down a few of his American undergraduate students with him. They were excited to catch the turtle a little before midnight last night.

Christine Lukban - Student, Marymount University
"Everyone's sleeping on the beach and we hear the radio and we get a call and it's someone shouting and shouting and we couldn't hear and then he said we got one! So, everyone in a panic grabs all of their stuff and runs all the way over and we see the turtle and Demetri and Pedro have flipped over and we just completely ecstatic to finally have one on the 1st day within 24 hours of being in Belize."

"Had that ever happen before?"

Christine Lukban - Student, Marymount University
"Never. We have been going here for 10 years. Dr. Rimkus is our professor. I think last year they found it on the last day."

Kevin Andrewin - Chair, Gales Point Wildlife Sanctuary
"About half way into his life, probably have about 80 to 90 pounds. So, she still a young female as yet but know she is older than us, because I would say she is around 60 to 70 years - could be."

So, what's the importance of this type of work?

Kevin Andrewin - Chair, Gales Point Wildlife Sanctuary
"Our main objective after turtle tagging is to study their migration pattern and by studying the migration pattern, we know exactly how far they go, if they go to another country. The reason for that, if a turtle goes out of our country and go across in another persons country where they are not protected and someone eats that turtle and it doesn't return back to the beach. If that continues to happen sooner or later they will be extinct. Then sooner or later I would only tell my children, we used to have turtles, like we used to have dinosaurs and they would not know what is a turtle. So, that is the main objective, to see how far they migrate and to make sure that they are protected. The main one that we are focusing on is the Hawksbill because it's a critical endangered species. People love to use it for their shells. They say the shell is beautiful and some love to eat it. So, that is the main one that we are focusing on. Even though we have 3 species that nest on our beach, the Hawksbill, the Loggerhead and the Green turtle, but mostly Hawksbill."

Dr. Todd Rimkus, Ph.D.
"We are able to predict where these animals are finding really nice feeding grounds and nesting grounds and that can help manage, to make sure that we don't have shrimping and fishing going on where the turtles are doing their primary activities."

Kevin Andrewin - Chair, Gales Point Wildlife Sanctuary
"One nest that these turtle nest, sometimes they could have unto 175 eggs in a nest and they all spoil because of the weather changes or sometimes only one turtle make it out of that nest. So, this turtle that we have here could be the one that survived out of a nest. They have to travel and it's still endangered all its life."

Dr. Todd Rimkus, Ph.D.
"Belize having satellite tags out is a tremendous for the country itself and it also is going to help protect the species and bring up the notoriety and importance of these endangered animals to the country and to the world and showing the world how Belize has such a great nesting population and is doing a lot to help protect their animals."

After detaining the turtle for a final two hours, so that the adhesive for the tag could harden, Meeko, as she's been named, crawled as fast she could down the beach, obviously relieved to be free. She immediately disappeared under the water. Where she will go, no one knows, but Dr. Rimkus and his students will be tracking her movements over the next 24 months, tagging along on her voyages, in a manner of speaking.

Channel 7