Pacific Leatherback Conservation Day falls on October 15 and this year, environmental activists are taking to social media to raise awareness of the rapidly declining species.
Less than 50 years ago, leatherback sea turtles—one of Earth’s largest living reptiles—were thriving in the world’s oceans. Today, the leatherback sea turtle is teetering on the edge of extinction. Global populations have decreased by 40 percent in the past three generations. The Eastern Pacific sub-population has been particularly hard hit, with a 97 percent decline in three generations.
The leatherback’s decline is caused by unsustainable human activities:
- Illegal and legal harvest of eggs and meat kills remaining population;
- Coastal development destroys nesting beaches;
- Plastic bags and balloons closely resembling jellyfish degrade leatherback’s foraging area;
- Drowning in commercial fisheries such as longlines or driftnets; and
- Entanglement in fishing line, plastic pollution, or ghost nets.
Turtle Island Restoration Network is a leading advocate for leatherbacks:
- Closed the California longline fishery to prevent leatherback mortality;
- Organized the first Leatherback Survival Conference;
- Authored successful State law to have the Pacific leatherback listed as California’s state marine reptile;
- Produced several award-winning leatherback documentaries; and
- Implemented the Pacific Leatherback Conservation Area.
With only 633 Eastern Pacific leatherback sea turtles left, scientists predict this iconic sea turtle could be extinct by 2040.
We can’t let this happen.
Join the conversation today – tell us why you think leatherbacks deserve to live and tag #saveleatherbacks. Together, our voices make a difference.