Jerry Brown Declares Official Marine Reptile

Giant sea turtle is official Calif. marine reptile

Wednesday, Sep 26, 2012  |  Updated 6:00 PM PDT
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Animals in the News

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This is a baby leatherback sea turtle. They get much bigger.

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Californians, meet your new state marine reptile: It has white spots, eats its weight in jellyfish and treks across the ocean each year.
 
       Gov. Jerry Brown announced Wednesday that he has signed legislation granting the official status to the Pacific leatherback sea turtle.
 
       Environmentalists hope the honor will help the world's largest sea turtle avoid the fate of the official state animal, the now-extinct California grizzly bear.
 
       Leatherbacks range from waters off San Diego to Washington state and can grow up to 8 feet long and weigh as much as three grand pianos.

They are the most common species of sea turtle in the Monterey Bay because their thick skin protects them in chilly water temperatures.
 
       Their population, estimated at roughly 2,000 nesting females, has fallen by 90 percent in recent decades.
 
       AB1776, by Democratic Assemblyman Paul Fong of Mountain View, also designates each Oct. 15 as Pacific Leatherback Sea Turtle Conservation Day.

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