Endangered turtles' travels are monitored

Mar 08, 2006

The University of Exeter has begun a major conservation effort to help protect endangered leatherback turtles that nest near Gabon, West Africa.

The project, led by the university's Brendan Godley, is focused on what is believed to be the animals' last global stronghold, as pacific populations dwindle precariously.

It's hoped the project, to tag and track the animals, will uncover their migratory secrets and provide the basis for efforts to safeguard them, university officials said in a news release. After fitting them with satellite trackers, researchers use the internet to follow their journeys, which are among the longest in the animal kingdom.

"Pacific leatherbacks have been decimated by incidental capture at sea and overexploitation, so it's vital we protect the Atlantic population," Godley explained.

He said little is known about the geographical range of the leatherbacks' travels. "We think turtles from Gabon could be traveling as far afield as South America, Europe and even the Indian Ocean to feed on their jellyfish prey," Godley said.

"We are just beginning to understand the importance of the leatherbacks of West Africa as a global stronghold, but we need to know where they live to protect them," he added.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: New study uncovers factors in students' reporting of weapons at school

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Africa's sea turtles need passports for protection

May 12, 2011

Satellite tracking of olive ridley sea turtles off the coast of Central Africa has revealed that existing protected areas may be inadequate to safeguard turtles from fishing nets, according to scientists with ...

Epic journeys of turtles revealed

Jan 05, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- The epic ocean-spanning journeys of the gigantic leatherback turtle in the South Atlantic have been revealed for the first time thanks to groundbreaking research using satellite tracking.

Recommended for you

User comments : 0