Senin, 11 Januari 2021

Sea turtle weighing up to 800 pounds found dead on the Outer Banks, puzzling rescuers - Herald-Mail Media

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A sea turtle weighing up to 800 pounds was found dead Saturday on the Outer Banks, and experts are puzzled over what caused its death.

The animal was identified as a leatherback sea turtle — an ancient species unchanged since the dinosaur eras — and a photo shows it was found amid the sea grasses on the Pamlico Sound side of Hatteras Island.

The nonprofit Hatteras Island Wildlife Rehabilitation said one of its volunteers found the dead turtle.

"It is fresh dead and I didn't see any obvious signs of trauma," the group said Saturday on Facebook. "Samples were taken for an aging study, but we won't really know why it died. It is also in a pretty rough location for necropsy and moving a 600 to 800 pound turtle by hand isn't likely. They are beautiful creatures that we know so little about."

Cold-stunned sea turtles — those paralyzed by a sudden drop in water temperature — are often found along the North Carolina coast this time of year. But that was unlikely in this case, according to Hatteras Island Wildlife Rehabilitation.

"Normally they are greens, Kemps (ridley) or loggerheads," the group said. "Leatherbacks can handle colder water so we really don't know what happened here."

The Frisco-based group treats ill and injured wildlife on Hatteras Island to "restore animals to good health, then release them back into the wild."

Leatherbacks are the world's largest sea turtle, known to grow to 1,000 pounds and 5.5 feet in length, according to NOAA Fisheries. The species is "highly migratory," traveling 10,000 miles annually.

"They are the only species of sea turtle that lack scales and a hard shell and are named for their tough rubbery skin and have existed in their current form since the age of the dinosaurs," NOAA reports. "The leatherback population is rapidly declining in many parts of the world. They face threats on both nesting beaches and in the marine environment."

(c)2021 The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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January 12, 2021 at 01:16AM
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Sea turtle weighing up to 800 pounds found dead on the Outer Banks, puzzling rescuers - Herald-Mail Media

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