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Soap star's battle to save the turtle

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Soap star's battle to save the turtle

Sunday Telegraph

30 April 2006

ACTRESS Isabel Lucas has become the champion of the endangered leatherback turtle.

The Home And Away star has joined forces with conservation charity WWF to raise community awareness about this rare species and the need for greater environmental action to prevent other species at similar risk of extinction.

Lucas says individuals can make a difference in reversing the decline of our environment and the destruction of many other endangered species.

"We have never been in a situation before where the choices and actions of one generation have such an impact on our future," she said. "We can't afford to wait until governments and leaders show some responsibility. It's time for individual action."

Once a regular visitor to Australian nesting grounds, the Pacific leatherback has not been seen since 1996.

Scientists say its disappearance is a major scientific "red flag" signalling a population slide toward extinction.

"With more than 10 years after the last sighting, it looks like we have witnessed the beginning of the extinction of eastern Australian leatherback turtles," WWF marine scientist Dr Gilly Llewellyn said.

"This is a sad anniversary for Australian turtles and a sad symptom of the state of our oceans."

The WWF says it is now one of the world's most endangered marine turtles, with the numbers of adult females dwindling to 2300 in the Pacific Ocean, and 34,000 worldwide.

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