The Key Threats Of The Leatherback Sea Turtles
The leatherback sea turtle is the largest of all living turtles and can be easily differentiated from other sea turtles because it lacks a bony shell, instead having an oily tough flesh. The leatherback is the only living species in its relative genus and family, thus making it the last turtle of its kind according to the Government of Canada (2016). However, if we as a global population continue going on the path that we are currently headed then we can say goodbye to the leatherback turtle whose population was at an estimated 115,000 in 1980 according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife services (FWS, 2015). It is our duty as citizens of the world to try and ensure the well being of all animals, especially ones where we as humans have …show more content…
An analysis of the leatherback turtle reveals three key threats to the survival of this once prosperous species which are the loss of nesting habitats, dangerous levels of plastic pollution in the ocean, and commercial fishing.
The aim of this essay is to evaluate the key threats which the leatherback sea turtle faces such as the loss of nesting habitats, dangerous levels of plastic in the ocean, and commercial fishing. As well as to examine an existing conservation approach with the goal of preventing further loss of life.
The leatherback sea turtle’s population is distributed all throughout the world in both temperate and tropical waters which include the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (2016). Leatherback turtles can be found reaching as far north as Alaska and as far south as South Africa. Throughout its time on Earth the leatherback has developed thermoregulatory adaptations like its bodies massive size and high oil content which attribute to its ability to be tolerant to colder waters (NOAA, 2016). Leatherback turtles share many biological features with other sea turtles like their …show more content…
According to Carranza, A., Domingo, A., & Estrades, A. (2006) the decline of leatherback populations in the Pacific is thought to have been caused by high morality of adults in oceanic longline and gillnet fisheries. With the human population growing larger and larger by the day the consumption of food will increase along with it meaning more fishing vessels in the ocean leading to more commercial fishing accidents resulting in the injury or death of leatherbacks. Research from Carranza, A., Domingo, A., & Estrades, A. (2006) suggests that since the leatherback population declined so rapidly in the Pacific, that pelagic longline fisheries in the Atlantic should be closely monitored so that damage to leatherback turtles is minimized to the greatest extent possible. Additionally, during breeding periods research from Witt, M. J., Bonguno, E. A., Broderick, A. C., Coyne, M. S., Formia, A., Gibudi, A., . . . Godley, B. J. (2011) indicates that we should limit the amount of coastal gillnet fishing in areas with high migratory numbers of leatherback turtles. In doing that, we ensure that the maximum number of leatherbacks breed so that their once prosperous species can be restored to its former