Barra Vieja, Mexico, February 16, 2012 - A leatherback sea turtle mother heads back to the ocean after laying her eggs in a nest on the beach. Only females ever leave the ocean, and only do so to lay eggs. She will typically lay just over 100 eggs, before covering them with sand and leaving. The turtles do not guard their nests, so the babies are left to fend for themselves once born. Only 1 -2 of a nest generally make it to adulthood.
Leatherbacks are one of the more endangered species, mostly due to human activity, including being caught in fishing nets, ingestion of plastic and trash, and illegal egg collection. The latter is a considerable problem in Mexico despite laws enacted in 1991 protecting the turtles.