Let's hear a positive story!
One of our AWESOME ISF supporters, Sammi, came to us with an idea: Let's write about something positive! Sometimes it's hard to learn about all of the sad things happening in the world around us. But, here is a great reminder that good things are happening, too. When you stand up for our planet and its creatures, YOU can make good things happen! So thank Sammi for her great article below :)
Safe Haven for Turtles by @SammiMonsteer
There are SEVEN species of sea turtles: leatherback, hawksbill, loggerhead, Kemp's ridley, olive ridley, green, and flatback. But the Leatherback sea turtles are the biggest turtles on earth. The scientific name for the leatherback sea turtle is Dermochelys coriacea. A leatherback can weigh more than a ton- 2000 pounds (907 kilograms)! They're long too. Leatherbacks are generally at least 6 feet long (that's as tall as an average man!). A leatherback sea turtle can live to be about 45 years old. Unlike other species of sea turtles, which have hard shells, the leatherback's shell is leathery; it feels almost rubbery. The shell is black, often speckled with white or yellow spots. These huge reptiles lived 100 million years ago—during the age of dinosaurs—but their future is uncertain.
Here's the sad news:
Pacific leatherback sea turtles have declined more than 95 percent since the 1890’s as few as 2,300 adult female western pacific leatherbacks remain. And Leatherbacks are one of the more endangered creatures on earth for several reasons mostly due to us humans. They get caught by accident in fishing nets, stuck underwater and drown. Leatherbacks must breathe air from the surface and can only stay underwater for up to 35 minutes at a time.
But here’s the good news!
The US federal government has assigned 41,914 square miles as critical habitat for the Leatherbacks! This includes waters from the ocean's surface down to a depth of 262 feet! The protection area stretches coastal sea waters from California to Washington State. This was all finalized last week by the US marine fisheries service.
The new habitat means the government will consider putting in new regulations on any activities that could harm Leatherbacks prey (jellyfish) or Leatherbacks themselves. Any of these new regulations would also benefit more marine life beyond jellyfish and Leatherbacks. Such regulations could target agriculture waste, pollution nuclear power, tidal wave plants, aquaculture and even offshore oil drilling! This is the first permanent safe haven for the giant Leatherbacks designated in continental US waters and the largest area set aside to protect Sea turtle habitat in the United States or its territories!
Do YOU want to write a POSITIVE story for the Ian Somerhalder Foundation? YOU CAN!!! Email us at ISFKIDS@gmail.com. We can't wait to hear what you're going to write about next month!