Tropical visitor to Moss Landing – Times Publishing Group, Inc.

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Tim Zoliniak, Aptos resident, captain of the Sea Goddess Whale Watching at Moss Landing, shared these photos of an unusual visitor, a leatherback turtle he spotted in Monterey Bay. He spotted a second shortly after.

Leatherback turtles, the largest of all sea turtles measuring up to six feet in length and weighing up to 1,500 pounds, swim across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, drawn from their homes in the tropics to feed on jellyfish in summer and fall, according to World Wildlife Federation.

Globally, leatherback turtles are listed as vulnerable, but subpopulations in the Pacific are critically endangered, likely because they mistake disposable plastics for food, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries, which is part of the US Department of Commerce with 4,200 employees observing its 150th anniversary.

Visitor Times Publishing Group Inc tpgonlinedaily.comTim also took photos of the NOAA team following the visitor.

A NOAA scientist, who tracks the movements of leatherback turtles using camera tags, says spotting one translates into “a few pretty exciting minutes.”

Thanks, Tim!

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To see what NOAA is doing, visit www.fisheries.noaa.gov/video/leatherback-turtles-understanding-pacific-population

Photo credit: Tim Zoliniak

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