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).
â€śBy recognizing the Pacific leatherback as the newest state symbol, Governor Brown continues Californiaâ€™s leadership in ocean conservation,â€ť said Ashley Blacow, Oceanaâ€™s Pacific Policy and Communications Coordinator. â€śPacific leatherbacks are on the brink of extinction, and public awareness is a key ingredient to turning the tide for these ancient marine reptiles.â€ť
Help Oceana make everyday Leatherback Conservation Day!
I might play a blood-sucking vampire on â€śTrue Blood,â€ť but in real life Iâ€™m a devoted animal lover and conservationist.
In the past few weeks, Iâ€™ve followed the proposed ban on the shark fin trade in California, and â€“ in honor of Shark Week â€“ I wanted to share a letter I recently wrote to California State Senator Paul Fong asking for his help to protect sharks:
Dear Assemblymember Fong and Members of the Legislature: