Leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) are the largest marine turtle in the world, reaching up to 2.5 meters in length and weighing up to 700 kilograms. They are truly an ocean wanderer and can be found all over the world, undertaking enormous migrations, breeding in tropical waters and feeding in temperate waters. As a result of egg collection, fishing and plastic marine debris, numbers of leatherback turtles have seriously declined during the last century. Globally, leatherback’s are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and many sub-populations are critically endangered and in decline. Here in the UK, they are listed as Priority Species and sightings are rare but the late summer months offer the best chance to see them in the Hebrides.
How can you help:
Report your sightings in the Hebrides on Whale Track under ‘other’ so that they can be shared with relevant organisations like the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and added to the regional and national databases to allow scientists to understand more about the movements of these amazing ocean wanderers.
Sea turtles do not nest on UK beaches, so if you find a live stranded turtle please contact British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) or Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme (SMASS) for any dead marine turtles, cetaceans, seals or sharks.
Reduce your use of single-use plastic, specifically plastic bags.
THIS ENCOUNTER OCCURRED DURING AN ACOUSTIC SURVEY, AND WE COULD NOT HAVE BEEN OUT THERE COLLECTING ANY DATA IF IT WASN’T FOR THE INCREDIBLE SUPPORT WE RECEIVED THROUGH OUR CROWDFUNDER CAMPAIGN. THANKS TO ALL OF YOU WHO MADE THIS HAPPEN!
FEELING INSPIRED TO GET INVOLVED WITH OUR MARINE CONSERVATION EFFORTS? COME AND JOIN US ONBOARD IN 2021 FOR YOUR CHANCE TO CONTRIBUTE TO OUR RESEARCH AND ENCOUNTER SOME OF THE AMAZING WILDLIFE WE HAVE IN OUR WATERS!