20,000 Leatherback Babies Crashed by Heavy Machinery

(AP Photo/Papa Bois Conservation)

Within 2 weeks time, the earth has lost its last remaining Pinta Island Giant Tortoise, and up to 20,000 Leatherback sea turtle hatchlings. Both species have a natural lifespan of over 100-150 years.

The former species was the world’s largest tortoise, which is just extinct.

The latter is even bigger. It is the largest of all living chelonians. The largest recorded specimen was 10 ft long and over 2,000 lbs, found in 1988.

Giant animals might be stronger than smaller animals physically. But when it comes to survivability under human-caused threats, a chihuahua in a lady’s handbag can be stronger.

The Leatherback is a unique turtle not only because it is the largest turtle. It also has a special carapace┬ácovered by skin and oily flesh instead of a hard bony shell like other turtles. The only extant member of the family Dermochelyidae, now it is listed as critically endangered – one step beyond extinction. With an environment like now, we estimate it will go extinct within 10-15 years.

This time, a Ministry of Works employee operates a bulldozer next to destroyed as many as 20,000 leatherback eggs and lively hatchlings on the banks of the Grande Riviere Beach in Trinidad. It was claimed to be working with a shifting river that was threatening a hotel where international tourists watch the rare turtles lay their eggs. That is ironic.

It, again, proves that eco-tourism has to be done by professionals with conservation background. Otherwise it only kills the nature.

The critically endangered sea turtles are not only treated by tourism, pollution is another as everyone knows. But maybe not everyone knows how exactly. I have done autopsies on dead sea turtles washed ashore. The turtles were gut-loaded with plastic bags. Plastic bags floating in the sea look like jellyfish, which is their main diet.

Learn more, people. You don’t see blood doesn’t mean you haven’t killed them.




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