Leatherback Turtle

(Dermochelys coriacea)

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Location In NC

Green counties indicate observed within 20 years. Yellow counties indicate an obscure data reference to the species in the county. Red counties indicate observed more than 20 years ago.

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Reasons of Endangerment

Loss of coastal nesting habitats is one of the primary threats to leatherback survival.

Fishing is another. These turtles can also get caught in commercial shrimp nets and suffocate. The leatherback eggs are harvested in Malaysia for food, and in some parts of Asia, the turtle is hunted for its oil and flesh. Their primary food is jellyfish, unfortunately, they can't distinguish between jellyfish and clear plastic debris, such as sandwich bags, and these get trapped in their systems.

Efforts to Protect

Turtle Excluder Devices, called TEDs, have been built into some nets that let captured animals escape. Additionally, scientists are asking that all beaches where leatherback sea turtles are known to nest and lay eggs be protected and all egg harvesting be banned.