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Racing for Survival

Great_Turtle_Race.gif It's day 3 of the race, and Windy is in first with only 356 miles left to go. But Billie and Stephanie Colburtle are fast on her heels. Both are about 381 miles from the finish zone around the Galapagos Islands.

Of course, the participants I'm referring to are leatherback sea turtles--the largest sea turtles and the largest reptiles in the world by weight--and what they're "competing" in is the Great Turtle Race.

The race started from their nesting grounds on Playa Grande beach in Costa Rica. There, 11 turtles were outfitted with satellite tracking devices. Scientists have synced up each turtle's data so that over the course of 14 days, race observers will be able to compare the turtles' routes. (I'd wondered the same thing, but no, the turtles weren't forced to leave the beach together on April 16.)

Leatherbacks are among the most migratory and wide-ranging species of sea turtles, found in warmer waters around the world. Unfortunately, hunting, smuggling, entanglement in fishing gear, and pollution have greatly reduced the leatherback population. Some estimate that their numbers in the Pacific Ocean have dropped 80 to 90 percent in the last two decades. They are considered endangered (as are the six other species of sea turtles).

Links:
The Great Turtle Race (hosted by The Leatherback Trust)
The State of the World's Sea Turtles

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 18, 2007 10:14 AM.

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