Did you know leatherback turtles can grow to be 7 feet long and weigh up to 2,000 pounds? They also live to be about 45 years old, but unfortunately the length of time it takes for them to mature means it can be devastating to the leatherback population if adult turtles die. In recent years, leatherback turtles have become critically endangered due to fatal encounters with fishing gear and limited feeding grounds on their normal migration routes.
But don’t worry! Conservationists from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science have found a high-tech solution to this problem. They strapped satellite tracking backpacks on a group of leatherbacks in order to study their migration routes and eventually help protect them from danger. They were able to identify the migration routes that provided the most food for the leatherbacks, and they also identified the routes that presented obstacles. With this knowledge, conservationists will be able to advocate for altered fishing practices and better conservation efforts in those key areas to help change the turtles’ “endangered” status.
Read the full article here: http://news.discovery.com/animals/leatherback-turtles-zones-120309.html
For more information on turtles, pick up one of our four books about turtles! Turtle Summer features loggerhead turtles and Turtles In My Sandbox features diamondback terrapins. Both books focus on conservation and proper treatment of beaches and turtle nests. For a more fictional approach to this subject matter, Where Should Turtle Be? and Tudley Didn’t Know explore turtle habitats and behaviors in comparison with other animal species. Check them out!