Save the leatherback turtle
WHY DOES LEATHERBACK TURTLE MATTERS
Marine turtles are the living representatives of a group of reptiles that has existed on Earth and travelled our seas for the last 100 million years. They are a fundamental link in marine ecosystems.
Leatherback turtles consume large numbers of jellyfish which helps to keep populations of these marine organisms in check. Marine turtles, including leatherbacks, also provide a vital source of income as a draw for ecotourism in coastal communities, especially in the Coral Triangle.
future of the endangered leatherback turtle appears bleak with the arrival of new information about leatherbacks in the Pacific. In the latest issue of the Marine Turtle Newsletter, sea turtle researchers present results that indicate a complete collapse of the East Pacific leatherback population. This population has been previously described as the world’s largest. Sea turtle biologists believe that the incidental catch of leatherbacks in fisheries off Peru and Chile, hundreds or even thousands of miles away from their nesting beaches in Mexico and Costa Rica, has caused the collapsing of leatherback have a global distribution and have been found as far north as Newfoundland and northern Norway.
how can we conserve them
Leatherbacks are currently designated as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. They are the largest turtles on the planet, measuring up to seven feet long and growing up to 1,500 pounds, these gentle giants are a magnificent sight to see.
The black sand of the southern Tortuguero beach is important nesting habitat for leatherbacks,Dermochelys coriacea, the only sea turtle without a hard shell. Leatherbacks are killed for their body oil, which is used for fuel and medicinal purposes. These gentle giants are also vulnerable to marine pollution. Leatherbacks may die after eating floating plastic bags, which they apparently mistake for jellyfish -- their favorite food.
According to National Geographic the number of leatherbacks in the Atlantic seems to be stable or increasing, but the Pacific population is declining at an alarming rate. It is important for our scientists to track and study leatherbacks to learn more about how they can be saved.