Clip | Viva Puerto Rico - Leatherback Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Sand

Leatherback turtle hatchlings in Puerto Rico emerge at sunrise and make a mad dash to the ocean to evade capture by sea birds. The hatchlings are at the center of a legal case to protect a crucial nesting site from potential development at Dorado Beach.

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Sunrise at Dorado beach... Sixty days after the leatherback turtle eggs were laid, tracks in the sand show that most have hatched.

But there are still a few stragglers emerging... These baby leatherbacks have dug their way upward through 2ft of sand... Sea birds patrolling the beach are always ready to strike.

The baby turtles have only one option: to make a mad dash for the ocean... While the drama unfolds on the beach - the courtroom drama, that will determine the fate of future turtle generations, is reaching its climax.

Trial Lady: I fully support the designation of this nesting ground for leatherbacks, as a nature reserve.

The local community loves their turtles.

But the decision to protect the beach still hangs in the balance.

Trial Girl: If we lose the leatherback, there won't be any predators to control the jellyfish population.

Overpopulation will occur and we won't be able to enjoy the beaches.

Trial Man: Protection will increase the economic potential attracting tourists who are interested in the turtles.

Trial Girl 2: I'm here today representing approximately 1million Puerto Rican children because I want a Green Puerto Rico.

A hope to prolong the species.

The local people have presented a compelling case, and the court declares the beach a protected zone.