The Endangered Leatherback
By Matthew Bunn
The Gentle Giant
The Leatherback Sea Turtle (dermochelys coriacea), is the largest sea turtle measuring on average 6.5 ft in length and up to 2,000 pounds in weight. The large turtles can be found across the outer banks of North Carolina during mating season, but are always on the move. The turtles can be found throughout the entire Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and are always moving across the oceans to find a mate. These turtles are the largest species of sea turtle in the world, are are also very important to the ecosystem of the outer banks. The Leatherback is a main contributor to sustaining the jelly fish population, jelly fish taking up most of the leatherbacks diet.
The Problem and Solutions
Even though the leatherback is a big sea turtle, it is no where near as big as the problems facing the turtle as a species. These problems have killed enough turtles to put the leatherback on the Endangered Species list. Some of the major contributors to leatherback death include habitat loss, egg harvest, and bycatch in fishing gear. The major one being fishing gear. This happens when fishing gear randomly tangles a turtle, and chokes, or drowns it. This happens because some fishermen are careless and catch turtles accidentally. Another reason this is such a large problem is that the fishing equipment is flawed and forces random catch. However some things are being done to help this problem, such as regulations being put on fishermen and fishing equipment and cutting down on environment loss, and pollution. Even though the problem is severe, some things are being done to help make a difference and save the leatherbacks.