PROTECTION STATUS: Endangered
YEAR PLACED ON LIST: 1970
CRITICAL HABITAT: A strip of land 0.2 miles wide and 1.9 miles long on the western end of the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands and the surrounding waters up to the hundred-fathom curve, designated in 1978
RECOVERY PLAN: 1998
RANGE: All tropical and subtropical oceans, as far south as the southernmost tip of New Zealand and as far north as the Arctic Circle
THREATS: Entanglement in fishing nets, coastal development, beachfront lighting, increased nest predation, habitat degradation, ocean pollution, collisions with watercraft, and global warming
POPULATION TREND: In the Pacific Ocean, fewer than 2,000 adult females now remain, and studies suggest that the Pacific population may become extinct within as little a a decade. The Mexico leatherback nesting population is today less than 1 percent of its estimated size in 1980. Leatherbacks in the Atlantic Ocean are doing better, with some nesting populations increasing.