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GITI Tire works to save the world, one turtle at a time

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Saving the world's resouces for future generations is a goal for those working at GITI Tire, from the chairman on down, reports Thomas Adams, director of marketing for the company's United States division, GITI Tire (USA) Ltd.

One step the company is taking for conservation is sponsoring a leatherback turtle in The Great Turtle Race, which will follow 11 leatherbacks from their nesting grounds on Playa Grande beach in Costa Rica to the Galapagos Islands. The "race" runs from April 16-29.

Leatherback sea turtles 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. They are an endangered species, their numbers dwindling due to animal and human pressures and habitat loss.

In 1980, there were more than 115,000 adult females, and now conservation groups estimate that there are fewer than 25,000 worldwide. Although a female will lay 60 to 150 eggs at a time, few of the hatchlings make it to adulthood, and of those that do, many are caught in fishnets and on fishing lines and drown. Others are eaten in soup or their shells are made into jewelry and souvenirs.

The Great Turtle Race hopes to bring attention to the turtles' plight. And as a sponsor, GITI Tire, headquartered in Shanghai, China, is helping make that happen. Some of the other sponsors are Yahoo!, Travelocity and Microsoft. "We're really excited about the event," says Adams.

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

To follow the turtles on their journey, log onto www.greatturtlerace.com.

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