In May 2023, at the remote Lighthouse Reef Atoll, a critical moment unfolded in the ongoing saga of marine conservation. Peggy, a mature female loggerhead turtle, was gently captured in-water by the dedicated team at MarAlliance. This marked a new chapter in both her life and marine research. Fitted with a satellite tag, Peggy spent the following year mostly in the same location in the Atoll and then suddenly in late March 2024 she embarked on an epic journey from Belize towards the U.S., meticulously tracked to shed light on the secretive life of sea turtles. But Peggy is not just any turtle; she was named in honor of MarAlliance’s recently deceased Board Chair, Peggy O’Shaughnessy, a woman whose adventurous spirit and dedication to conservation continue to inspire.

Peggy O’Shaughnessy

Loggerhead turtles like Peggy face a gauntlet of challenges, driven by human activity and environmental change. From accidental capture in fishing nets, known as bycatch, to the dark tendrils of illegal trade and the relentless push of coastal development that destroys former nesting beaches, these ancient mariners navigate an increasingly fraught ocean. Additionally, rising temperatures and beach erosion—a direct consequence of climate change—threatens their nesting grounds, undermining their ability to reproduce successfully.
MarAlliance’s decision to satellite tag Peggy at Lighthouse Reef Atoll was driven by a commitment to science and conservation. By understanding her migratory patterns and behavior, researchers can better advocate for protective measures along her migratory route and nesting sites. Peggy’s journey, closely monitored and shared on Facebook and Instagram, turned her into an ambassador for her species. Her story, featured on Belize’s national news channels such as Channel 7 and Channel 5, transcended scientific interest, touching the hearts of the public and raising awareness about the plight of sea turtles.
Peggy’s satellite data is also providing invaluable insights. Each location ping maps a part of her journey and contributes to a broader understanding of the loggerhead’s life at sea—information that is crucial for crafting effective conservation strategies. These strategies are not just about safeguarding turtles but also about preserving the balance of marine ecosystems. Loggerheads, like many marine species, are integral to the health of the ocean, affecting the dynamics of marine habitats and species interactions.
The data collected from Peggy’s tag tells a story of resilience and survival. As she navigates through international waters, her path highlights the interconnected nature of oceanic ecosystems and the transboundary challenges of marine conservation. This journey underscores the necessity for international cooperation in environmental protection efforts, as marine conservation is a global issue that transcends national borders.

Peggy’s story is a clarion call to action. It serves as a powerful reminder of the impact of human activities on marine life and the urgent need for concerted conservation efforts. Her tale inspires individuals and communities to advocate for oceans and the magnificent creatures that inhabit them. By supporting protected areas, sustainable fishing practices, and climate action, we contribute to a hopeful future for loggerhead turtles.
In the spirit of Peggy O’Shaughnessy’s adventurous legacy, let us continue to champion the cause of these noble sea farers. Through science, education, and community engagement, we can ensure that the story of loggerhead turtles like Peggy is not one of decline but of thriving survival and coexistence with humanity. Let us all be part of this uplifting journey towards a sustainable and vibrant oceanic world.
For more information about MarAlliance and to follow Peggy’s journey, please visit

Submitted by Rachel Graham, MarAlliance

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About the Author: Staff Writers & Contributors

Yes, we got people! Sometimes even our accountant feels inspired to write about our gorgeous county! And, every once in awhile we are fortunate to have a contribution by someone who feels as passionate about Belize as we do! Regardless of who the author is, we are compelled to share the love.

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