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Leatherback turtles' newly discovered migration route may be roadmap to salvation
Date:7/15/2008

at the early stage globally, putting together large transboundary, transnational plans for protecting highly migratory species like turtles," Shillinger said. "First and foremost, you need political will and a framework in which to operate." International conventions have produced agreements on the need to protect many endangered ocean species, and Shillinger said that as constituents become aware of the situation and lobby their politicians, governments slowly begin to take action. But the critical part is having solid science to serve as a basis for developing any agreements.

In his efforts to bring the plight of the leatherback populations in the Pacific Ocean to people's attention, Shillinger teamed up with Stanford MBA graduate Mark Breier to create and launch the Great Turtle Race, largely facilitated by TOPP and coordinated by the Leatherback Trust. In this educational project, a race among leatherback turtles across the Pacific Ocean is simulated using real data from the tagging project. This year's race, the second annual, ended in June and for the first time included data from leatherbacks that started from Indonesia, in addition to those starting from the Americas.

"I wouldn't write these turtles off. If we can inform and change fisheries practices with sound science and policy, then hopefully there will be a chance to conserve turtles and the ecosystems that they occupy," Shillinger said. "These turtles could be a really awesome flagship for conservation."


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Contact: Dan Stober
dstober@stanford.edu
650-723-2558
Stanford University
Source:Eurekalert

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