LEATHERBACK SEA TURTLES: Tracking

January is nesting time for the Leatherback Sea Turtle, the largest reptile in the world. But once the Leatherbacks leave their nesting beaches on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, where they go is still something of a mystery. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

ambience Leatherback rising to the surface for air

We’re listening to sounds of a Leatherback sea turtle rising up from the depths of the ocean to reach the surface for air. Leatherbacks spend 90% of their time underwater, making them fairly elusive creatures, despite their enormous size. Steven Morreale of Cornell University explains:

ambience ocean ambience

“We want to find out where these turtles go once they’re all done nesting. They come to nest at these remote tropical beaches and they disappear. We don’t know anything about where they go.”

Scientists are trying to track the Leatherback movements by placing tiny transmitters on them, and then monitoring these transmitter via satellite.

“What we’ve seen is they, once they leave the nesting area, they head out into the open ocean and they travel very quickly. In just a few weeks these animals can travel over a thousand miles and they just keep going. And what was amazing is, not only that these turtles move fast and far once they leave, but what we’ve found is that turtles tend to travel along the same route. These turtles are traveling down a very narrow, very slim migratory corridor through the open ocean.”

In recent years, the Leatherback’s population has been declining radically. Protecting their migratory path during their traveling season could help prevent the Leatherback Sea Turtle’s extinction.

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. I’m Jim Metzner.

LEATHERBACK SEA TURTLES: Tracking

Where do Leatherback Sea Turtles go, once they’ve left the beaches where they were born?
Air Date:01/02/1998
Scientist:
Transcript:

January is nesting time for the Leatherback Sea Turtle, the largest reptile in the world. But once the Leatherbacks leave their nesting beaches on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, where they go is still something of a mystery. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

ambience Leatherback rising to the surface for air

We're listening to sounds of a Leatherback sea turtle rising up from the depths of the ocean to reach the surface for air. Leatherbacks spend 90% of their time underwater, making them fairly elusive creatures, despite their enormous size. Steven Morreale of Cornell University explains:

ambience ocean ambience

"We want to find out where these turtles go once they're all done nesting. They come to nest at these remote tropical beaches and they disappear. We don't know anything about where they go."

Scientists are trying to track the Leatherback movements by placing tiny transmitters on them, and then monitoring these transmitter via satellite.

"What we've seen is they, once they leave the nesting area, they head out into the open ocean and they travel very quickly. In just a few weeks these animals can travel over a thousand miles and they just keep going. And what was amazing is, not only that these turtles move fast and far once they leave, but what we've found is that turtles tend to travel along the same route. These turtles are traveling down a very narrow, very slim migratory corridor through the open ocean."

In recent years, the Leatherback's population has been declining radically. Protecting their migratory path during their traveling season could help prevent the Leatherback Sea Turtle's extinction.

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. I'm Jim Metzner.