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The Guardian, Wednesday 5 January 2011

Researchers have tracked ‘nature’s ancient mariners’ as they spend several months traveling from Africa to South America

Leatherback turtles in the Pacific have declined in the past 30 to 40 years, mainly as a result of drowning in fishing nets. Photograph: Wayne Lynch/Photoshot

On 2 February 2009, at 4am, a turtle known as Tika set off from the coast of Gabon, west Africa. She spent almost six months swimming across the Atlantic, a 5,000-mile (8,000km) journey to the coast of South America. At the moment she is probably somewhere off Brazil, eating jellyfish and building herself up. In about March next year, she’ll begin her journey back to Africa, and, if all goes well, she’ll then build a nest and lay her eggs in the sands of the Mayumba national park in Gabon. And this will be just one of many 10,000-mile round trips she makes in her 50-year life.
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