November 26, 2013
The new assessment found that the population of leatherback turtles in the northwest Atlantic Ocean (along the US and the Caribbean) is on the road to recover due to conservation actions. While scientists aren't sure how the southeast Atlantic population (mostly in Gabon) is faring, it remains the world's largest population.
However, the situation in the Pacific is far more bleak. The east Pacific population has dropped by 97 percent in three leatherback generations, while the west Pacific population has fell by 80 percent during the same period.
"The persistence of significant threats in all regions warrants concern for the future viability of even the largest subpopulations. Current efforts to protect Leatherbacks, their offspring, and their habitats must be maintained—or even augmented, where possible—to reverse declines in Pacific and Indian Ocean subpopulations and to sustain population growth in the Northwest Atlantic," the assessors write.
Leatherback sea turtles face a variety of major threats, including fisheries' bycatch, human consumption of their eggs and meat, coastal development, light pollution, plastic pollution, and climate change.
Leatherback sea turtle. Photo by: Guy Marcovaldi.
|AUTHOR: Jeremy Hance joined Mongabay full-time in 2009. He currently serves as senior writer and editor. He has also authored a book.|
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