The identification of individuals within a population is essential for the collection of reliable information for any behavioral and ecological studies. In addition to tagging sea turtles using inconel tags, SEATRU scientists are exploring the feasibility of implementing the photo-identification technique. This is a non-invasive method which utilizes the natural facial markings to identify individuals. Compared to conventional tagging methods, photo-ID has various advantages such as:
i) The animals are not physically captured or hurt
ii) Identifiable characteristics are stable over time
iii) Animal is less likely to be affected/stressed by the identification system
iv) Photo-ID is less costly compared to flipper tagging or internal tagging
Preliminary studies have shown that the green turtles (n = 56) of Chagar Hutang each have their own unique facial pattern and both the left and right patterns do not exhibit any symmetry.