The Amazing Race…For Sea Turtles

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Those of you who were fans of Hunter’s story yesterday about Costa Rican turtle preserves, or recall our great Q&A with Wallace J. Nichols, a conservationist whose turtle-tracking project thrilled children around the world, we offer you some more turtle topics, only this time these turtles are traveling themselves.

National Geographic is partnering with Conservation International and the Canadian Sea Turtle Network to sponsor the Great Turtle Race, and yesterday, the contestants (all of whom are leatherback sea turtles) started on their two-week journey from the frigid Newfoundland costline down to the Carribbean. The turtles are tagged with state-of-the-art satellite tracking devices that enable the rest of us to follow their incredible 3,700-mile (6,000-kilometer)

journey, which you can track yourself here on NG’s interactive race map. So far, it seems as though Nueva Esperanza is winning, though Cali is on her tail. You can sign up with Conservation International to get updates on the the racers, and get their play-by-play of race on their blog.

For more on turtles, check out the story by Tim Appenzeller about Leatherback Sea Turtles in this month’s National Geographic. And watch the video of photographer Brian Skerry as he talks about using natural moonlight and a long exposure to create this ghostly image of the vanishing species.