Leatherback turtles have found a friend in Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla. After a battle that raged for 15 years and involved two previous governors, a swath of nesting ground along the island’s northeast coast has been protected from development.
The almost 3,000-acre Northeast Ecological Corridor includes pristine beaches that provide nesting grounds for the world’s largest sea turtle. The law prevents planned development of hotels, golf courses and luxury homes.
The 13-mile corridor is home to nearly 1,000 types of flora and fauna, 50 of them rare or threatened, including a bird thought since the 1950s to be extinct.
Next up: The government will make offers for private lands within the designation, and environmental groups are developing ideas for ecotourism.
1 Leatherbacks are carnivores.
2 Wild leatherbacks live about 45 years.
3 Leatherbacks can dive more than 4,000 feet and stay underwater up to 35 minutes.
4 They can grow to 2,000 pounds, or nearly as large as a small hippo.