GITI Tire's leatherback turtle is swimming strong in race

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Although currently in ninth position out of 11 turtles, Champiro, the leatherback turtle sponsored by GITI Tire, is swimming strong in The Great Turtle Race.

Running from today until April 29, The Great Turtle Race follows leatherback sea turtles from their nesting grounds on Playa Grande beach in Costa Rica to the Galapagos Islands.

With GITI Tire and the other 10 turtle sponsors' help, race organizers hope to bring attention to the turtles' plight. They are the largest turtles in the world, growing to lengths of up to six-and-a-half feet and weights up to 2,000 pounds. And they are an endangered species, their numbers dwindling due to animal and human pressures and habitat loss.

Race promoters are the conservation groups The Leatherback Trust, Tagging of Pacific Predators, Conservation International and Costa Rica's Ministry of Environment and Energy.

Champiro is one of the largest of the 11 turtles, and today swam to a depth of 300 feet below the surface.

To follow the turtles on their journey, log onto

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