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Blog Tags: Leatherback Conservation Day

California and Indonesia Urged to Build Relationships to Save Leatherback Sea Turtles

A cooperative relationship between the U.S. and the Western Pacific island nations, where Pacific leatherback sea turtles return from California to nest, could help save the endangered leatherback sea turtle. 

In response to Governor Brown’s signing of Assembly Bill 1776, which designates the endangered leatherback sea turtle as California's official state reptile and designates October 15 as Leatherback Conservation Day, state and federal agencies have been encouraged to build cooperative relationships with the Western Pacific island nations, where Pacific leatherback sea turtles return from California waters to nest. This fall, from October 14-17th, political leaders from Indonesia and the United States will meet with notable marine and leatherback scientific experts to discuss the status of the species, the population, international conservation efforts, current conservation efforts in both countries, and socio-economic research of conservation.


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Leatherback Declared New CA State Symbol

Leatherback joins ranks of purple needlegrass, west coast swing dancing and benitoite as California state symbol ©Oceana

It's been a leatherback-heavy news week and for all the right reasons. First a dramatic leatherback sea turtle rescue off of Cape Cod grabbed headlines over the weekend and then yesterday California governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill designating the Pacific leatherback as the state's marine reptile.

The law designates October 15, 2013 as the first annual Leatherback Conservation Day, during which California schools will be encouraged to teach students about this prehistoric sea turtle species, which makes a heroic 6,000 mile journey from Indonesia to the California coast to feed on jellyfish. The species, which is the largest turtle on Earth, has been decimated in recent decades, its population numbers plummeting as much as 95% due to bycatch by industrial fishing drift nets and longlines, poaching and plastic pollution (leatherbacks often mistake plastic bags for their favorite prey, jellyfish).

“By recognizing the Pacific leatherback as the newest state symbol, Governor Brown continues California’s leadership in ocean conservation,” said Ashley Blacow, Oceana’s Pacific Policy and Communications Coordinator.  “Pacific leatherbacks are on the brink of extinction, and public awareness is a key ingredient to turning the tide for these ancient marine reptiles.”

Help Oceana make everyday Leatherback Conservation Day!


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