Puerto Rico to Protect Leatherback Turtles

by in Marinelife

Image via Turtle Diet

Image via Turtle Diet

The governor of Puerto Rico has signed a new law on April 13th that aims to give additional protection to the world’s largest endangered turtle species, the Leatherback Turtles. The new law will help protect an area known as the Northeast Ecological Corridor, a U.S. nesting site.

The protected region includes 5.4 square miles of the island’s coast with more than 861 types of plant and animal life, including fifty threatened species.

“Today, this important, highly ecologically valuable resource is being protected forever”, said Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla.

The leatherback turtles are the largest marine turtles in the world. Their average height is about 6.5 feet and can weigh up to 1190 pounds. The turtle has a rubbery skin with longitudinal ridges. These turtles are also known to be the deepest divers among their species. The deepest recorded dive of a leatherback has been 3/4th of a mile.

Now that the area is protected under law, many organisations are planning to promote eco-tourism. Camilla Feibelman, coordinator of the local Sierra Club says that they are planning to promote hiking, offer rented bikes to visitors and also take groups to see the turtle hatchlings.

Compared to fifty four per cent in the U.S. Virgin Islands  only about 8 per cent of Puerto Rico’s territory is designated for preservation and conservation and thus the new law is a welcome move.  In the Dominican Republic 42 percent of the territory is protected.

Sadly, all seven turtles species of the world are highly threatened. This has been due to destruction of their reef habitats, development activities, damaged nesting sites, climate change, poaching of their eggs and also accidental by-catch during fishing.

With so many dangers it is imperative that protective measures are boosted for all the turtle species and this latest law is a positive move in that direction.


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About the Author

Atula is a writer, traveler and a nature-lover. She is also mom to a boy who seems to have inherited all her creative genes. When Atula is not busy making up stories with her son, she writes for numerous magazines, websites and blogs. She is also working on her site on endangered species called indiasendangered.com.

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