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Trek of the Titans

Canadian scientist studies the world's largest turtle as it feeds on jellyfish off the coast of Nova Scotia
Episode available within Canada only. Video help?
PHOTO: Patrick Callbeck

The leatherback sea turtle is a magnificent creature that can be found in Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. This ancient species swims faster, travels further, and dives deeper than any other reptile on the planet. In the Atlantic, they migrate every year from their nesting grounds in the Caribbean to the chilly waters off the east coast of Canada where they feast on jellyfish. This epic annual journey – at a staggering 12,000 km – is the longest for any reptile in the world.

Dr. Mike James with a leatherback turtle in Canada
Photo: Canadian Sea Turtle Network

This remarkable trek is fraught with an increasing number of life threatening hazards including habitat destruction, fishing nets, marine pollution, and poaching.  Until recently, very little was known about adult leatherback turtles due to their nomadic nature and they were thought to be a tropical species. During the past two decades, however, a group of scientists have challenged that conventional wisdom and revealed a much different reality.

Trek of the Titans is a one-hour documentary that provides a new perspective into the world of leatherback turtles and reveals the ground-breaking research and preservation being done in Canada and Trinidad. The film introduces a group of dedicated individuals who are committed to understanding, protecting, and increasing the population of these endangered gentle giants of the sea.

The film follows Canadian sea turtle biologist Dr. Mike James as he conducts his research on the elusive leatherback. He begins his journey in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia where he teams up with members of The Canadian Sea Turtle Network and local fisherman to search for migrating leatherbacks. Their goal is to study the leatherback population off the coast of Nova Scotia to learn more about their feeding habits and migration patterns.

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Mike then travels to Trinidad to rendezvous with his research colleague, Dr. Scott Eckert, to study the annual nesting of thousands of leatherbacks on the island. Their goal is to find a nesting turtle from Nova Scotia, attach a satellite transmitter to her, and then document her journey back north. They're assisted in their research work by members of Nature Seekers, a Trinidad based conservation group which protects leatherbacks.

The documentary was written and directed by award-winning Halifax filmmakers Teresa MacInnes and Kent Nason, and created and produced by Edward Peill from Halifax-based Tell Tale Productions Inc. in association with CBC Television and the Nature of Things.
 


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