Wednesday, 11 April 2007

The Great Turtle Race

Leatherback Sea Turtles are 100 million years old but their rapid decline indicates that their population may be extinct in as little as 10 yearts. In an effort to learn more about these rare animals and bring attention to the cause, scientists have outfitted 14 animals with satellite tags. The tags have provided researchers with valuable information and are now being used for a novel fundraising initiative.

On April 16th, the Great Turtle Race will begin as the leatherbacks head back to their Galapagos feeding grounds. Sponsor your favorite turtle and track its progress online. This great idea draws attention to the turtle’s plight, raises money and is lots of fun!

The event is being organized by Conservation International, the Costa Rican Ministry of Environment, the Leatherback Trust and the Tagging of Pacific Predators program. Proceeds will go to protect Cost Rica's Playa Grande who bring awareness to the challenges facing the survival of leatherback turtles.


Gufo said...

So, why exactly are they going extinct? I guess their breeding grounds are still in good conditions. Is it overfishing of their usual feeding grounds? Or people directly killing them? Or just inability to adapt to changing climate? Uhm I guess the original article will answer uh?

Sarda Sahney said...

Good question, unfortunately the conservation link on the Great Turtle Race website is broken. So in a nutshell:

-Human activity endangers Leatherbacks in several ways:
Turtle eggs are harvested by people in the Caribbean, Africa and Micronesia.

-Development of beaches has disturbed and destroyed Leatherback nesting sites

-Lights from development has caused hatchlings to move away from the sea rather than toward it.

-While adults are at sea, adults have been killed as a result of colliding with boats

-Commercial fishing equipment entangles adult turtles and cause them to drown.

Leatherbacks are listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List.

Gufo said...

Oh, OK, so they feed in the galapagos, but nest very far from there?

Do they really get all the way to Africa?

Quite frankly, I'm a bit disilluded on these things. I have come to see these extinctions as inevitable. The more people I know, the less the share that really seems to give a damn about the environment. Everybody seems to be involved with his own life objectives - and don't take it lightly when you tell them that they should curb their own aims for the greater goods. It is, as Jared Diamonds well put it, "someone else's problem".

TheBrummell said...

Leatherback Sea Turtles are 100 million years old

Sorry to get all Pedantic on you, but... what does that mean?

Has it been 100 million years since Leatherbacks shared a common ancestor with their nearest related species? Are there 100 million-year-old fossils that display morphological features that would put them into the same morphospecies as the living individuals?

All life on Earth, all species, all lineages, are exactly the same age - everybody and everything alive has had exactly the same amount of time to evolve since the last common ancestor. In the case of the catch-all category "all life", that's about 3.8 billion years.

Having said that, I like sea turtles, and I wish this conservation effort well.