National Geographic News reports of an intrepid endangered species of leatherback turtle having completed an incredible journey of the the longest recorded migration of any sea vertebrate: 12,774 miles (20,558 kilometers) across the Pacific Ocean.
The journey was tracked by satellite and provided the first record of a trans-Pacific migration by a leatherback.
The giant reptile began the trek in Indonesia’s warm tropical waters in the summer of 2003. The study shows that when the turtle crossed the equatorial line, it encountered strong, swift currents before passing close to Hawaii’s Kauai island.
Some of the turtle’s dives sent it plunging into the cold darkness of up to 3,300 feet (1,000 meters) below the ocean surface.
After 647 days of swimming, the animal finally reached the cool waters of the Pacific Northwest—where a feast of jellyfish awaited.
The turtle made this “epic journey spanning tropical and temperate waters of the Pacific just to eat jellyfish off Oregon,” said Scott Benson of NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center in Moss Landing, California.
Benson is a co-author of the study published recently in the journal Chelonian Conservation and Biology.
Source: National Geographic