Winner of Most Dives Lasting More than One Hour Swimming Challenge, Great Turtle Race 2009
Cali’s unflappable spirit got him through a life-threatening ordeal that almost kept him off the starting line. When Canadian scientists found him, he was entangled in fishing gear and unable to swim.
But thanks to his can-do attitude and some help from the Canadians, and he’s off to the races with his leatherback friends!
Cali has been working with a coach whose personal experience in overcoming adversity and succeeding on a big scale has helped him to get ready for the Race: Olympian Eric Shanteau!
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Bullis Charter School
148.2 cm (4 ft 10 in)
107.1 cm (3 ft 6 in)
340 kg (750 lbs)
Stay tuned to see if Eric can help the Cali overcome the odds and win the Race.
Where is he now?
It seems that Cali’s run-in with the fishing gear really did have a big impact on him. First, he began his migration much sooner than the other turtles – almost immediately after he was entangled and then released. Then, although it seemed like he was steaming toward the Caribbean, he suddenly hit the brakes and turned around. We think he did this because he didn’t have enough energy to make the full migration to breeding areas in tropical waters, so had to turn around and go back to ‘refuel.’
Although this is just our speculation about what happened, it definitely shows that even a relatively minor, non-lethal interaction with fishing gear can interrupt natural behavior of leatherbacks and affect whether they reproduce in a given year. Cali’s experience is very important for us to understand how influential fisheries bycatch can be to leatherbacks and other animals.