Endangered leatherbacks tracked off Gabon

Dec. 24, 2009 at 2:27 PM
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LIBREVILLE, Gabon, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- Two endangered female leatherback turtles have traveled 800 miles since being released off Gabon Dec. 7, scientists say satellite tracking devices indicate.

Noelle and Darwinia are to be tracked throughout the world's oceans to see where they travel and how deep they dive, said Howard Rosenbaum of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Ocean Giants Program.

"Sea turtles are the ancient mariners of the world," Rosenbaum said in a release Wednesday. "Understanding broader migration patterns and use of the nearshore habitat around their nesting beaches is a key component to their conservation."

The two turtles are members of the world's largest nesting population of leatherbacks, their habitat threatened by industrial fishing and oil exploration, said scientists from the University of Exeter, England, who are helping track the turtles.

The turtles' progress can be viewed online at www.seaturtle.org/tracking

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