Biologists on Monday will switch on satellite trackers strapped on the backs of 11 female leatherback turtles, signaling the start of the Great Turtle Race from Costa Rica's Pacific coast to the Galapagos islands.
Sponsored by US and Costa Rican environmental groups and businesses, the race that can be monitored online aims to raise awareness of the endangered species. Environmentalists say 90 percent of the leatherbacks have vanished and the species may disappear within 10 years due to illegal poaching of their eggs along Latin American coasts, ocean contamination and development near their nesting grounds.
Internet users can log on to www.greatturtlerace.com, read about the turtles and then track them over the next two weeks along their natural migration to the islands off the Ecuadorean coast, according to a nonprofit group headed by Washington DC-based Conservation International.
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