Endangered Leatherback Turtle spotted near Vancouver Island

The rare moment was captured by Jeremy Koreski and former Vancouver Canucks defenceman Willie Mitchell

Tofino photographer Jeremy Koreski and former Vancouver Canucks defenceman and co-owner of Tofino Resort and Marina, Willie Mitchell, went fishing for some tuna the other day and returned with one tell-all turtle story.

The fishing buddies and business colleagues say they spotted an endangered Leatherback Turtle near Loudon Canyon in the Barkley Sound. Koreski managed to snap a photo of the marine creature just before it dove under.

“We were probably 30 miles straight out,” said Koreski. “I didn’t realize that [the turtle] was so rare. I guess the last sighting was two years ago and then the only other sighting was two years before that.”

“I wish we had a little bit more time with the turtle. We kind of spotted it and drove up to it and it was taking a few breaths than it dove down.”

VIDEO: Ex-Canuck Willie Mitchell spots rare salmon shark

This isn’t the first time Koreski and Mitchell have experienced a rare sighting on the water. In the fall of 2017, they claim they saw a salmon shark while cruising around the Clayoquot Canyon.

A website dedicated to Leatherbacks in B.C. describes the turtles as some of the biggest reptiles in the world, and have been around since the dawn of dinosaurs.

However, there have been less than 135 Leatherbacks documented off the Coast of B.C. since the 1930s.

The giant turtles migrate all the way from Indonesia to feed on the jellyfish in North Pacific waters. They have most often been sighted between June and October when jellyfish populations are likely to be greatest.

READ: Pet tortoise returns after nine months on the lam in Ucluelet

Threats to the survival of this endangered turtle include: entanglement in fishing gear, collision with boats, and plastic pollution. In a global study of 408 Leatherback Turtles called ‘Leatherback Turtles: The menace of plastic’ by Mrosvosky, autopsy records showed more than 30 per cent had plastics in their intestines.

Sea turtles accidentally eat plastic bags because they cannot tell them apart from their jellyfish prey.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

leatherback turtleTofino MarinaturtleWillie Mitchell

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Jeremy Koreski and Willie Mitchell spotted this Leatherback Turtle on a recent fishing trip near Tofino. (Jeremy Koreski Photo)

Just Posted

Landlords are panicked

Risk is real for April rent and greater challenges are foreshadowed for May

Parade of welcome and love in Prince Rupert

Friends welcome new baby in drive by visit

Wage Subsidy up to 75 per cent announced

Businesses who have had a 30 per cent decrease can apply

UPDATE: Man drowns crossing Skeena River

59-year old Prince Rupert victim pronounced dead at Mills Memorial

‘We will get through this’: B.C. sees new COVID-19 death, but 57% have recovered

A total of 1,066 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

Association launches French-language games, online tools for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix had sharp words for those arriving from overseas abiding by federal law

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

Some April Fool’s Day jokes bring much-needed laughter; others tone deaf to COVID-19

Police are warning the public not to use the ongoing pandemic as a punchline

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

Call before you dig into spring projects during isolation: BC 1 Call

BC 1 Call gives free checks for utilities in the area of a desired outdoor project

B.C.’s intersection speed cameras putting more tickets in the mail

One Nanaimo location delayed after speed limit reduced

Most Read