Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Leatherback Marathon

So you think you are a a strong swimmer? Scientists tracked a leatherback turtle from Indonesia to Oregon and back to Hawaii. That's 13,000 miles, all just for food.

The 9 foot turtles, largest in the world, are facng extinction. The reduction of their natural food sources forces them to forage further and further, exposing them to more and more hazards. Many are caused by humans, such as ingesting debris like plastic, to traveling through areas that are used by multinational fisheries.

Because these powerful swimmers travel all over the Pacific, and that there are estimated only 5,000 females left, it will take an international effort to save the endangered species, which could be extinct in the next 30 years if nothing is done.

"It will be the responsibility of many countries to ensure the species survives in the Pacific Ocean for future generations," said Scott Benson of the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service in California . "It's an animal that doesn't recognize international boundaries. You can protect the nesting beaches but if you can't protect the animal in the water, you haven't done anything."

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