Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Endangered turtle makes record 647-day journey
A leatherback sea turtle recently completed the longest recorded migration of any sea vertebrate: 12,774 miles (20,558 kilometers) across the Pacific Ocean. The journey, tracked by satellite, provides the first record of a trans-Pacific migration by a leatherback. The giant reptile began the trek in Indonesia's warm tropical waters in the summer of 2003. Traversing the equatorial line, it encountered strong, swift currents before passing close to Hawaii's Kauai island. Along the way, the turtle may have encountered swordfish, tuna, and other migrating leatherbacks returning after a successful foraging season off the North American coast. After 647 days of swimming, the animal finally reached the cool waters of the Pacific Northwest—where a feast of jellyfish awaited.