Endangered Leatherbacks Return To Monterey Bay

MOSS LANDING, Calif. (AP) - Scientists say endangered leatherback turtles have returned to Monterey Bay to feast on jellyfish after nearly disappearing from the area in recent years.

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories researcher Scott Benson says
marine biologists counted more than 300 of the giant endangered
turtles in the bay this year.

Benson said a strong upwelling of nutrient-rich cold water this year brought greater stocks of jellyfish, which attracted the turtles.

Poor upwellings in previous years have sent the turtles elsewhere to find food.

The 70-million-year-old leatherback species is the largest of all sea turtles. Benson says the Pacific's leatherback population has declined by 90 to 95 percent in the last 25 years because of egg poaching and turtles getting caught in fishing gear.

Information from: Santa Cruz Sentinel,

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-10-05-08 1535EDT

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