How many times have you said it? “Dude. First you were all like ‘whoa,’ and we were like ‘whoa,’ and you were like ‘whoa.’ ” Giant sea turtle Crush from “Finding Nemo” is one of the most memorable cartoon characters of all time. If your kids have an interest in marine life, now you can tell them all about the leatherback turtle, the deepest diving sea turtle in the ocean.
The Guardian reports that for the first time, scientists have tracked the journeys taken by leatherback turtles as they cross the Atlantic from Africa. In a study that lasted more than five years, researchers discovered that two female leatherbacks “ended up in the waters off Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay,” while others stayed closer to home. According to The Guardian, “Their journeys lasted for months and they swam thousands of miles.” 7,000 miles, to be exact. One leatherback dove 1080 meters on her journey.
Leatherbacks are born on the beach. Scientists say, “Hatchlings run straight into the sea and spend their first few years being wafted around the dominant ocean currents, not yet strong enough to swim as they please.” The migration patterns observed by researchers “will be used to try to prevent the potential decline of leatherback turtles.” Matthew Witt, a researcher at the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at the University of Exeter, who led the project, says, “The population is bordering on extinction; there are only hundreds of females left, rather than many tens of thousands.”