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Turtles: Sea Turtles Mystery Revealed

Updated on January 20, 2011

The Deepest Diving Sea Turtle

For years sea turtles have baffled scientists.  They have been studied and observed but, no one actually knew much about these sea creatures.  That is until recently.  Back in 2009 scientists decided to attach tracking devices to a few of these sea creatures.  It has been 5 years now and the information is actually unbelievable. 

Leatherback turtles actually not only travel, but they go on voyages.  These sea voyages are being tracked with these transmitters.  A couple of the turtles actually traveled over 1000 miles which is only a single voyage out of plenty that she will make during her 50 year life.  You see back in 2009 scientists added these transmitters to 25 female Leatherback turtles.  The majority of them stayed near the African coast while a few decided to venture out and travel over 1000 miles to the coast of Brazil.  

The entire trip of 4215 miles took about 150 days.  The deepest diving sea turtle dove a depth of 1080 meters.  The way the transmitters work was that each time they came up for air a single and data was transmitted to a satellite.  The transmitters were powered by a simple lithium battery.  

The main purpose if you are wondering behind the transmitters is to gain data on the life and migration patterns of the Leatherback turtles.  Scientists are hoping to be able to hold of extinction.  If you look at the population in of the turtles about 98% are gone.  There are are only a few hundred females left alive instead of thousands.  

The cause of the drop in population is not known.  It is known however that turtles can get caught on hooks and nets of fishermen.  When this happens the turtles are being held and can not resurface for air.  In both cases they are caught by accident, but they really have a effect on the population.  Egg harvesting does seem to be an issue, which is a good thing.  Mainly because you can add to the population when the females lay their eggs.

Banning fishing in areas where turtles populate has been mentioned.  There are some who believe that this is not necessary.  Recent studies into the habits of turtles has led to the creation of different shaped hooks and colored baits.  The catch numbers are still there and accidental turtle catches has dropped.  

It is know that the leatherback turtle spends the majority of their lives at sea.  They are born on beaches and usually head right out to water.  From there its a water life for the turtle.  With the recent tracking being done, the scientists will know the migration patterns.  This will help them know feeding grounds along with where the females tend to lay her eggs.  The more that we can learn the better chance we have of saving this species from sure extinction. 

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