"Pacific Leatherback Turtle Faces Extinction in 20 Years"

"The giant Pacific leatherback turtle, known for its arduous 6,000-mile ocean trek from the U.S. West Coast to breeding grounds in Indonesia, could go extinct within 20 years as its population continues to plummet, scientists say."

"'Sea turtles have been around about 100 million years and survived the extinction of the dinosaurs but are struggling to survive the impact of humans,' said reproductive biologist Thane Wibbels of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), a member of a research team studying the fate of these reptiles.

The leatherback - the world's largest turtle - can grow to six feet long and weigh as much as 2,000 pounds (900 kg).

A study published this week in the Ecological Society of America's scientific journal Ecosphere estimates that only about 500 leatherbacks now nest at their last large nesting site in the Pacific, down from thousands previously. The study tracked the turtle's ongoing population decline since the 1980s."

Verna Gates reports for Reuters February 28, 2013.

Source: Reuters, 02/28/2013