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  Leatherback turtles could be wiped out
Updated 18 February 2003, 09.58
Leatherback turtles have been around for 100 million years
Leatherback turtles could be extinct within 10 or 20 years if something's not done to save them, experts have warned.

The sea creatures have outlived the dinosaurs, but they're now threatened by fishermen.

They get caught up in the nets used to catch tuna and swordfish and they die, scientists said.

It's thought the number of these turtles has dropped by 95 per cent in the last few decades.

Thick, leathery shells

Leatherback turtles are the largest and oldest sea reptile in the world.

The turtles get caught in tuna and swordfish nets
They are two or three metres long, and have thick, leathery shells.

They've been around for more than 100 million years, and have survived asteroids and huge changes to the planet.

Scientists are calling on people to stop eating swordfish particularly, until something's done to change fishing methods to save the turtles.

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