SOURCE: Canadian Wildlife Federation

Canadian Wildlife Federation

November 03, 2015 14:09 ET

Which Turtle Will Win the Race?

The Canadian Wildlife Federation and Canadian Sea Turtle Network Launch Great Canadian Turtle Race

OTTAWA, ON--(Marketwired - November 03, 2015) - The Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) and the Canadian Sea Turtle Network (CSTN) Great Canadian Turtle Race gets underway today.

Scientists from CSTN attached satellite tags to race contenders Agile Abigail, Rev it Bev, Cruisin' Christie and Sharon la petite démone. The public can visit TurtleRace.ca to learn more about the unique characteristics of each turtle and choose who they think will win by traveling the greatest distance by World Wildlife Day on March 3, 2016.

Through the satellite tags and on-line tracking maps, people can follow the impressive migratory journey of leatherbacks to cheer on their favourite. Scientists can also gain important knowledge about the behavior and location of the turtles as they make their way to their southern wintering grounds.

The leatherback sea turtle is officially recognized as an endangered species by Canada and on an international scale.

"Although leatherback sea turtles are large and charismatic marine organisms, like many marine wildlife species, they are often not widely recognized as a part of Canada's wildlife heritage," says Sean Brillant, Manager of Marine Programs at the Canadian Wildlife Federation.

It was only in the last decade that CSTN scientists, with support from CWF, identified how crucial Canada's Atlantic waters are for Atlantic leatherback populations. For ages, these giant reptiles have travelled to Atlantic Canada every summer to forage on abundant jellyfish in preparation for their journey to their southern nesting grounds. The challenge now is to ensure that more Canadians recognize these turtles as a part of Canada's wildlife and that we share responsibility for their conservation.

"This project is a chance to connect people with leatherback sea turtles," says Brillant. "And because they range so widely across different habitats in the ocean, they're a great way to introduce people to other marine species and to the effects we have on the marine environment."

About the Canadian Wildlife Federation:

The Canadian Wildlife Federation is dedicated to fostering awareness and appreciation of our natural world. By spreading knowledge of human impacts on the environment, sponsoring research, promoting the sustainable use of natural resources, recommending legislative changes and co-operating with like-minded partners, CWF encourages a future in which Canadians can live in harmony with nature. Visit CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca for more information.

About the Canadian Sea Turtle Network:

The Canadian Sea Turtle Network is a charitable organization involving scientists, commercial fishermen, and coastal community members working to conserve endangered sea turtles in Canadian waters and worldwide.

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