PACIFIC LEATHERBACK TURTLES CLOSER TO EXTINCTION

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HONOLULU, Hawai‘i (May 31, 2000 – Hawai‘i Public Radio)---An article in the scientific journal ‘Nature’ says Pacific leatherback sea turtles are much closer to extinction than previously believed.

The article was written by scientists from Drexel University in Pennsylvania and the Center for Marine Conservation, a Washington-based group.

The article says there may be only 5,000 Pacific leatherback sea turtles left.

That’s far less than the federal government’s population estimate of 85,000.

The scientists say the turtles are being killed accidentally by fishermen using long liners and gillnets.

The center and other environmental groups sued the Federal government last year for not protecting the turtles.

A Federal judge then closed off thousands of square miles of Pacific to Hawai‘i-based long liners to protect the turtles.

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