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THE OUTDOORS DIGEST | BRIEFS

Can't hide in their shell

March 02, 2004|J. Michael Kennedy

A report presented at an international symposium in Costa Rica predicts that the huge leatherback turtle -- which can grow to almost a ton -- could be extinct within a decade in the Pacific.

The report, released this month at the 24th annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Conservation and Biology, painted a grim picture for the turtles, whose numbers have been in decline for two decades. The number of reproductive females has declined 97% to fewer than 3,000 since 1982, according to the report.

"Sea turtles act as our warning mechanism for the health of the ocean, and what they're telling us is quite alarming," said Roderic Mast of Conservation International.

Besides the leatherback, five of the other six species of sea turtles are in danger of extinction because of long-line fishing, egg-poaching and beachfront development.

-- J. Michael Kennedy

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