The average life expectancy for a child born today is 66 years.
Unless we work together, leatherback sea turtles will be extinct in the Pacific Ocean by that child’s 15th birthday.
It’s hard to understand: An animal that’s flourished for 65 million years could be wiped out in a human lifetime.
The Pacific leatherback population declined more than 95% in the past
two decades. Worldwide, the species is “Critically Endangered”—next
comes “Extinct in the Wild.”
It’s easy to lose hope: Despite
being able to dive ¾ of a mile and swim for thousands of miles feeding
on jellyfish, leatherbacks are easily poached and often get tangled in
fishing long lines. Hatchlings get fatally confused by coastal
developments’ lights, nesting beaches erode, and adults at sea swallow
drifting plastics and starve to death.
Leatherbacks seem ill-equipped to survive in a
crowded world. And we still know so little about them—how far they
travel, how fast they grow, how females migrate back to nesting
beaches—that it’s easy to think there’s nothing we can do to help.
But you can do something:
For nearly 20 years, Dr. Frank Paladino and his colleagues have shown
us the way to save turtles, keeping the species alive in the Pacific.
As a volunteer on Costa Rican Sea Turtles,
you’ll monitor female leatherbacks on their most important nesting
beaches, protect eggs and hatchlings, and attach tracking devices to
help save these endangered creatures. And while you might join to
change the turtles’ fate, be ready for the experience to change your life, too.
We can't stop now:
Sign up to help the Costa Rican Sea Turtles by September 30th, and lock
in the cost of your contribution before 2009 increases go into effect.
Visit our website to learn more or call us toll-free at 1-800-776-0188.
Director of Volunteer Outreach
P.S. You can also make a difference for the turtles right now. Support Earthwatch and Dr. Paladino's work with a generous donation, become an Earthwatch member, or set up an Expedition Fund today.
“This experience had a deep impact on me on many levels. I am grateful
to have been allowed to participate in a scientific expedition of this
importance.”—Maria Isabel Crisostomo, Costa Rican Sea Turtles volunteer
Watch the turtles Dr. Paladino is trying to save as he explains why they're endangered.
Results of Dr. Paladino's Research
Costa Rican National Park, Parque Marino Las Baulas, was created
because of the data collected by Dr. Paladino and other
Earthwatch-supported scientists, along with Earthwatch volunteers.
Before, poachers took nearly 100% of nests; now, almost all are
protected. Thousands of hatchlings crawl to the ocean every season,
whereas five years ago only a handful survived.
help from Earthwatch volunteers, Dr. Paladino and colleagues
electronically tagged and tracked 46 female leatherbacks for more than
three years, learning how Pacific currents influence migration
corridors. This data--the first of its kind-- can now be used to
establish better protections for leatherbacks at sea.