Less than 50 years ago, leatherback sea turtles—one of Earth’s largest living reptiles—were thriving in the world’s oceans. Today, the leatherback sea turtle is teetering on the edge of extinction. Global populations have decreased by 40 percent in the past three generations. The Eastern Pacific sub-population has been particularly hard hit, with a 97 percent decline in three generations.
The leatherback’s decline is caused by unsustainable human activities:
- Illegal and legal harvest of eggs and meat kills remaining population;
- Coastal development destroys nesting beaches;
- Plastic bags and balloons closely resembling jellyfish degrade leatherback’s foraging area;
- Drowning in commercial fisheries such as longlines or driftnets; and
- Entanglement in fishing line, plastic pollution, or ghost nets.
That is why we need to help protect sea turtles, whales, salmon, and other marine species from extinction and suffering.