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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                              

October 18, 2004






            The public is invited to learn about the plight of the endangered Leatherback Turtle at a free presentation on Saturday, October 23 cosponsored by the City and World Turtle Trust (also known as The Honu Project) at the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve.


            The Leatherback, the largest marine turtle, has declined in population by nearly two-thirds over the past 20 years.  These large ocean reptiles average six feet in length, weigh between 500 and 1,000 pounds, and have a flipper span of nine feet.  They swim the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans and the Mediterranean Sea and migrate thousands of miles from Nova Scotia to Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and through our own Hawaiian waters.


            “I am well familiar with the Leatherbacks’ fight against extinction and strongly believe that we can and must take steps to help these graceful creatures survive,” said Mayor Jeremy Harris, who has been to Costa Rica.


The featured speaker at the Hanauma Bay presentation, “Twenty-five years of marine turtle conservation in the Pacific: What have we learned and accomplished?” will be Dr. Frank Paladino. For the past 15 years, Paladino and his colleagues have spearheaded Leatherback research resulting in findings that are critical to saving this highly endangered species. They are now leaders in a campaign to save a key Leatherback nesting beach on the country’s Pacific coast.


On October 23rd, by special invitation of World Turtle Trust, Dr. Paladino will share his extensive knowledge about Leatherbacks and show rare and dramatic footage recorded during a National Geographic Explorer expedition to Costa Rica.


Dr. Paladino is a Jack W. Schrey Distinguished Professor of Biology at Indiana Purdue University in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  He is working to halt rampant excessive turtle egg poaching, protect critical nesting beaches and bring awareness about other threats to the Leatherbacks’ survival.


World Turtle Trust is a Hawaii-based, non-profit organization committed to protecting sea turtles worldwide. Their award winning video helped the Costa Rican government create a national park to protect nesting Leatherbacks. Dr. Paladino has conducted his research for the past 15 years at this same beach which is now part of the Costa Rican national park system.


The presentation will be from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.  There is no charge for admission and parking is free.  Guests are advised to arrive early because seating is limited.  For more information, contact World Turtle Trust at or call 732-4668.




Monday, October 18, 2004

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