Target: Buck Sutter, Director for the Office of Habitat Conservation at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Goal: Expand conservation areas for endangered leatherback turtles
One of the most iconic reptiles, the leatherback turtle is also one of the most threatened in the world. The endangered animals must travel 6,000 miles across the Pacific each year to lay their eggs, but fewer and fewer turtles are surviving the journey. While dogs and other predators contribute to the species’s decline by digging up eggs, the turtle’s most potent threat remains human development. Now, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is trying to cut back on areas dedicated to turtle conservation. Urge the NMFS to take action to protect this beautiful and dwindling species.
Just off the coast of California, fishers use drifting gillnets to capture swordfish. Unfortunately, these nets have been dubbed “walls of death” due to how many turtles and other animals they kill. Turtles also become ensnared in nets trailing behind boats. As the animals must pass through several fishing zones in their yearly migration, protecting them worldwide is an increasing challenge.
The National Marine Fisheries Service can’t protect leatherback turtles across the entire Pacific, but it can save their conservation grounds here in the United States. If the NMFS doesn’t act quickly, the turtle may be extinct in just 20 years. Sign the petition below and urge the NMFS not to shrink turtle conservation land.
Dear Mr. Sutter,
The leatherback turtle faces threats to its survival all around the world. Along their 6,000 mile migration, many turtles become ensnared in the nets of careless fishers. And once they reach their destination on the coast of California, they must navigate the so-called “walls of death”—massive gillnets designed to catch swordfish.
The National Marine Fisheries Service is currently planning to cut back on the amount of land dedicated to leatherback turtle conservation. Unless every effort is put toward the species’s survival, the leatherback turtle could be facing extinction as soon as 20 years from now. Pacific turtle populations have been declining at an unprecedented rate. It’s time to act now—or lose the leatherback forever.
I urge you not to follow through with cuts to the leatherback’s conservation areas. Expand this essential habitat and save this endangered creature from extinction before it’s too late.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Ken Clifton via Flickr