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Leatherback Seaturtle: Dermochelyidae

Conservation Status

According to the World Conservation Union (IUCN), this species is Critically Endangered, which means it faces an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lists the leatherback turtle as Endangered, meaning that the turtle is in danger of extinction through all or most of its range, or the region over which it roams and feeds. The number of leatherback turtles has dropped rapidly over a very short time, mostly due to hunting of adults and gathering of their eggs. Development of tropical beaches for homes and resorts is also making it more and more difficult for the turtles to find a safe nesting spot. Many countries are now making it illegal to kill adult turtles or take their eggs or else protecting the beaches where they lay their eggs.



Burnie, David, and Don E. Wilson, eds. Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide to the World's Wildlife. New York: DK Publishing, Inc., 2001.

Hickman, Pamela. Turtle Rescue: Changing the Future for Endangered Wildlife. Richmond Hill, Canada: Firefly Books, 2004.

O'Keefe, M. Timothy. Sea Turtles: The Watcher's Guide. Lakeland, FL: Larsen's Outdoor Publishing, 1995.

Pritchard, Peter C. H., and Pedro Trebbau. The Turtles of Venezuela. Athens, OH: Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, 1984.

Watt, E. Melanie. Leatherback Turtles. Austin, TX: Raintree Steck-Vaughn Publishers, 2002.

Web sites:

"Leatherback Sea Turtle." In the Wild: Oceans. http://www.bagheera.com/inthewild/van_anim_turtle.htm (accessed on September 10, 2004).

"The Leatherback Turtle." Oceanic Resource Foundation. http://www.orf.org/turtles_leatherback.html (accessed on September 10, 2004).

"The Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)." Turtle Trax. http://www.turtles.org/leatherd.htm (accessed on September 10, 2004).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceDinosaurs, Snakes, and Other ReptilesLeatherback Seaturtle: Dermochelyidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Saving Leatherbacks, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, LEATHERBACK SEATURTLES AND PEOPLE