The Nature Conservancy is tracking the movements of leatherback turtles in partnership with Solomon Islands 2023 ©Solomon Islands 2023

A leatherback turtle named Solo after the Solomon Islands 2023 Pacific Games mascot has migrated more than 1,000 kilometres to Vanuatu.

The Organising Committee partnered with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to track the movements of leatherback turtles from their feeding to their breeding grounds.

One of those being tracked was named Solo, who is 167 centimetres in length.

She nested five times at Haevo nesting grounds in Isabel Province in the Solomon Islands between November 2022 and early January, before migrating eastwards through Malaita, Makira and Temotu Provinces.

According to satellite data, Solo arrived in Luganville in Vanuatu last week after a journey of 16 days.

"Solo has swum over 1000km since departing Haevo beach - its nesting grounds in January," the TNC Melanesian programme director Richard Hamilton said.

"Solo is swimming at a pace of 60-70km per day [and] is now in Vanuatu."

Female leatherback turtles are known to nest in intervals of between two and three years, and further updates on Solo's progress are expected up until the start of the Pacific Games on November 19.

Satellite tags have been attached to the leatherback turtles to track their movements ©Solomon Islands 2023
Satellite tags have been attached to the leatherback turtles to track their movements ©Solomon Islands 2023

Solomon Islands 2023 chief executive Peter Stewart underlined the value of the partnership with TNC.

"The opportunity that modern technology provides to allow us to track the movements of Solo is a wonderful innovation," Stewart commented.

"These creatures are so important to the culture and biodiversity of Solomon Islands and the Pacific region, that the greater understanding of how they live can only assist us all in doing our best to help these turtles to survive in these challenging times."

The turtle mascot for the Pacific Games was launched in May last year, incorporating the four national colours of the Solomon Islands in green, blue, yellow and white.

It was named Solo in August, and is on a nationwide tour of the host country with the aim of promoting awareness of the Games and advocating against the slaughter of all turtle species throughout the Pacific.

The Solomon Islands is due to stage this year's Pacific Games between November 19 and December 2, following a four-month delay blamed on COVID-19.