Leatherbacks Dermochelys coriacea are the oldest, largest, and widest-ranging marine animals ever to swim through our global ocean. The leatherback is the only sea turtle that lacks a hard, bony shell. A leatherback’s carapace is approximately 4 cm (1.5 inches) thick and consists of leathery, oil saturated connective tissue overlaying loosely interlocking bones. They can grow up to 2.7 metres (9 feet), 1.8 metres (6 feet) wide, whilst weighing almost a ton they can dive as deep 800 metres (half a mile). They are the Earth’s most endangered sea turtle and are declining rapidly in the Pacific Ocean.
Larry Crowder of Duke University is quoted as saying, “They survived over 100 million years, through climate change and asteroid impacts, but they could become extinct in the next 10-20 years unless sufficient international cooperation is mounted to reverse this dramatic decline. There are probably fewer than 1500 females nesting throughout the Pacific Rim.”
Other Species Impacted Upon by Climate Change