Pearl Jam, R.E.M. and U.S. Olympic Swimming Champs Line Up at Sea Turtle Race Finish Line


Screengrab of Interactive Map of the Great Turtle Race
Conservation International has started up this year's Great Turtle Race. Eleven Leatherback sea turtles are pitted against each other in a "race." The turtles are on their migratory journey and the organization has put up a website where viewers can watch the virtual race in order to bring awareness to the species and their need for protection. Waiting for them at the finish line will be Pearl Jam, R.E.M, Amanda Beard, Jason Lezak and other amazing Olympic swimmers.

"The magic of the Great Turtle Race is that it puts actual data from migrating sea turtles into a captivating, fun-filled format that draws attention to important biological research and inspires people to act on behalf of ocean conservation," said CI Vice President Roderic Mast.

The last race in 2007 featured all female Leatherbacks. This year, both male and female turtles are competing in the race, as well as other feats of strength like Deepest Dive. The turtles are tagged with state-of-the-art satellite tracking devices so that they can be tracked over the 3,700 mile trek from Canada to nesting beaches in the Caribbean.

The competition is a great idea for bringing some excitement to a very serious issue. Leatherbacks are threatened, and their situation isn't getting a whole lot better. Awareness brought to them through The Great Race, and the celebrities supporting it, will hopefully go a long way in not only helping them, but also the plight of our oceans as well.

The Race ends on April 29th and a slew of celebs and cheering fans will

Check out the race, and take part, over at National Geographic.
More on Leatherback Turtles
Plastic Found in 1/3 of Leatherback Turtles, According to Study
The Great Turtle Race
Endangered Sea Turtles Face Death by a Thousand Hooks

Tags: Activism | Oceans | Turtles

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