Wales: more leatherback turtles expected. Global warming

Leatherback turtle

From icWales:

Leatherbacks to turn to warm Wales

Jun 30 2006

Robin Turner, Western Mail

WELSH university researchers say one of Britain’s oldest species will be an even more frequent visitor to our coastlines as the water is getting warmer.

Leatherback Turtles have been around for more than 65 million years when dinosaurs stalked the Earth.

Professor Graeme Hays, of Swansea University’s School of the Environment and Society, has led international efforts to save the leatherback from extinction.

His research has led to evidence that UK waters have warmed – leading to more appearances by leatherbacks.

The research group, which monitors turtle populations and their behaviour with satellite tags, has revealed the wide-ranging movements of the ancient sea creatures.

According to this source, leatherback turtles have a fossil record going back to the Eocene (not long after the dinosaurs became extinct).

Leatherback turtles in Ireland: here.

6 thoughts on “Wales: more leatherback turtles expected. Global warming

  1. Turtles Threatened in Baja California

    For over a decade, Academy research associate Wallace J. Nichols has found dead loggerhead turtles washed up on the beaches of Baja California – about 300 a year. Nichols discovered that local fishermen were setting nets at the same spot where juvenile loggerheads fed. Although Nichols has convinced some to change their fishing locations and reduce accidental turtle deaths, it seems that others are too preoccupied with illegal drug activity to change their fishing practices. The full story appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on September 24.


  2. SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (Reuters) – Eleven leatherback turtles are swimming across the Pacific Ocean to the Galapagos Islands in a “race” that will be tracked online to draw attention to the plight of the endangered creatures.

    The turtles have been tagged with satellite communication devices that give their positions as they head south from their nesting sites on Costa Rica’s Playa Grande beach to feeding grounds near the Galapagos, about 950 miles away.

    Online participants can choose a turtle and track its course at from April 16 with the winner being the animal that travels furthest in two weeks of swimming.

    There is no prize for the winner of the race, aimed at highlighting the dangers facing a creature that has graced the oceans for 100 million years.

    “It’s fascinating to consider that we are able to bring together these prehistoric animals with such cutting-edge science,” said Stanford University researcher George Shillinger, one of the race organizers.

    Environmentalists say 95 percent of leatherbacks in the Pacific Ocean have vanished in the last 20 years due to human activity like fishing, poaching of their eggs and building near their nests, and they could become extinct in the next decade.

    Thousands of leatherbacks nested at Playa Grande 10 years ago but the number has dropped to below 100 in the last five years.

    Leatherbacks, which can reach a shell length of 1.7 meter (5.6 feet) and a mass of 700 kg (1,540 lb), often die after being entangled in fishing lines and nets. Others choke on plastic bags, wrongly believing they are jellyfish, which are a delicacy for turtles. Continued…

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    © Reuters 2007. All rights reserved. Thu Apr 5, 2007


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