Sea Turtle Tagging

Tracking Tilly


Each year, the Newport Aquarium, in partnership with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission’s Sea Turtle Project, receives a hatchling loggerhead sea turtle that needs rehabilitation. Newport Aquarium Biologists care for the turtle for about a year, possibly more depending on the turtles’ needs, and then returns the young sea turtle to the ocean. In October of 2013, we received a young turtle who the guests named Tilly through a Facebook competition. She was a straggler hatchling from a nest on Bogue Banks, North Carolina. Newport Aquarium Biologists Jen Hazeres and Cameo VonStrohe picked her up and brought her back to Kentucky where she was on exhibit and seen by over 700,000 visitors!


Aquarium visitors watched Tilly grow throughout the year. On Tuesday November 4th, 2014, she returned back to the Atlantic Ocean. Biologist Jen Hazeres thought Tilly would be a great candidate to receive a satellite tag. She wrote a grant from the WAVE Foundation’s Aquatic Conservation Fund to provide Tilly with a tag. She received the grant and a satellite tag was placed on Tilly’s shell before being released. This satellite tag was a lightweight, battery-operated tracking device. We hope this device lasts close to a year, but they are designed to fall off over time. Her tag will relay crucial information to better understand sea turtle behavior, migratory patterns, etc. The tag is linked with and you can track her online.

Follow Tilly’s journey on

If you would like to support projects like these, then please donate to the WAVE Foundation’s Aquatic Conservation Fund through the “Donate” page on this website. Other ways to support the fund include: rounding up your retail store purchase in the Newport Aquarium’s gift shop for our “Dollars for Conservation” program, purchase tickets for a “Penguin Encounter” where a portion of the proceeds benefits the fund, or drop your spare change in one of our “Conservation Coin Drops” throughout the Aquarium.


Watch the video of Tilly being released.