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Is the leatherback turtle in danger of extinction?

The pressure that humans exert on living things can bring species to the brink of extinction. A case of this is the leatherback or leatherback turtle Dermochelys coriacea ) , of which in 1982 there were about 115,000 approximate specimens and today there are between about 20,000 and 30,000 specimens.

As many of you have asked us about whether the leatherback turtle is in danger of extinction or not, in this AgroCorrn article we want to clarify the most current situation of this species of marine reptile. Get to know the current data, the forecasts of the IUCN specialists and what we can do to prevent its extinction.

You may also be interested in: Endangered Turtles
  1. Is the leatherback or leatherback turtle in danger of extinction?
  2. Leatherback or leatherback turtle: characteristics
  3. How to help the leatherback turtle so that it does not become extinct
  4. List of endangered animals

Is the leatherback or leatherback turtle in danger of extinction?

The Pacific leatherback turtle ( Dermochelys coriacea ) , also known as the leatherback turtle , is in such a population decline that scientists believe that in the next 30 years it could become extinct from the Pacific Ocean , which will be likely if no changes are made to protect it an effective form. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the leatherback turtle as a vulnerable species . The reasons for this decline are in the accidental catches due to fishing gear (mainly trawling or longline), the ingestion of plastics (they often confuse the plastic bags that pollute the oceanswith jellyfish, one of their main foods), the poaching of their eggs or the destruction of their habitats. Although they are not yet in danger of extinction and their status is one of vulnerability, the latest records indicate that the trend of their population is decreasing , so that year after year it is decreasing, which can lead the species to enter a state of risk. critical in a short time.

Although these turtles are not so vulnerable to predators due to their large size, their eggs and young are in constant danger, since from the moment they are deposited in the nests they are threatened by dogs, birds and other predators that patrol the beaches in search of food. Likewise, when they manage to hatch from the egg, they are captured on their way to sea water and, furthermore, if they manage to reach the sea or ocean, they encounter more predators, so there will be few that manage to overcome all the barriers and may develop up Adulthood.

Given its situation of vulnerability , the leatherback turtle is within the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, which completely restricts the capture or killing of these marine reptiles.

Learn about this and other species of these marine reptiles with this other AgroCorrn article in which we talk about endangered Turtles .

Leatherback or leatherback turtle: characteristics

Among the main characteristics of the leatherback turtle are:

Main physical characteristics

It is the largest species of tortoise within the Dermochelydae family , weighing more than 600 kg and reaching up to 2.5 meters in length. They are dark in color with pink and white spots. The females are larger and have a pink spot on the head. Its design is very hydrodynamic.

Its carapace has a mosaic appearance and can measure up to 2.5 meters and has around seven hooves on the back and belly, made up of different soft tissues. When observing its shell on the surface, it has a curvature that makes it take a semi-cylindrical shape, which gives it a certain resemblance to the musical instrument, to which it owes its name.

The leatherback turtle has large fins on its front, larger than in other turtles, and can reach up to 270 centimeters in adults.

The mouth of the leatherback turtle

The mouth of these turtles is one of its most striking and terrifying aspects. They have a huge mouth with a large number of sharp fangs that resemble thorns and hooks and with which they can catch and crush large prey such as jellyfish, which are part of their diet.

Leatherback turtle habitat

The leatherback turtle can inhabit all the oceans of the world, although they usually live more in the open ocean due to its greater depth. These reptiles are great divers, reaching a record depth of up to 1,000 meters. Typically prefers temperate and tropical waters, as well as cold sub-arctic waters. As is known, turtles are one of the animals that live the longest and this species can live from 75 to 80 years, so they are not actually one of the longest-lived.

Leatherback turtle feeding

Their diet is based on jellyfish, squid fish, algae, crustaceans and sea urchins. Usually, the leatherback turtle makes many trips through virgin areas in search of its main source of food, jellyfish, and orienting itself by the magnetic field. This animal can eat up to 50 large jellyfish a day, thanks to its large jaw.

The leatherback turtle has a great metabolism and, despite being ectothermic (cold-blooded), it has its own heat generating system, which allows it to maintain a temperature of up to 18 degrees Celsius.

Reproduction of the leatherback turtle

Mating between leatherback turtles takes place in the water. The females mate approximately every 3 or 4 years and go out to the same areas where they hatched to lay their eggs, while the males remain in the water. Females deposit up to 100 eggs in 9 days, which do not mate until they are ten years old. Not all babies born manage to develop into adults, as it is a period of great mortality.

In this infographic about the leatherback turtle , more aspects of this space are explained and, you can even see its mouth. In addition, if you like marine reptiles, we recommend that you consult this other article on Types of sea turtles and their characteristics and this other specific one on the Mediterranean Sea turtles , among which are the leatherback or leatherback turtles.

How to help the leatherback turtle so that it does not become extinct

There are some activities that we can carry out to reduce the pressure on this species. Some of the ways to help the leatherback turtle are:

  • Reduce light pollution on beaches, as it can disorient turtles.
  • Reduce and clean up beach litter: Turtles can mistake plastic for food and drown or injure themselves.
  • Stay away from nesting sites.
  • Reduce chemicals used: Chemicals can reach shores and pollute the marine environment.

In the following video by Victoria Yaneth Cesena, we can see a giant leatherback turtle returning to the ocean after having spawned on the beach and also some newborn turtles trying to reach the water safely. It is very important to bear in mind that if we come across them like this, approaching them in this way is the most we should do, as we must avoid disturbing, touching or picking them up.

List of endangered animals

Although the leatherback turtle is in a vulnerable situation and its population is decreasing day by day, there are many other species of turtles that are already in serious danger, as well as many other animal species around the world. These are some of the endangered animal species in the world :

If you want to expand this information on the Animals in greatest danger of extinction in the world and other threatened species, we recommend you enter this other article full of interesting data.

If you want to read more articles similar to Is the leatherback turtle in danger of extinction? , we recommend that you enter our category of Endangered Animals .

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