(Mirror Daily, United States) – Three man-made hazards kill a sea turtle in the Cape Cod Bay. The sea turtle was seen floating in the bay before eventually ending up on the Sandy Neck Beach in Barnstable, when the waves washed the lifeless creature on the shore. According to Dr. Charles Innis, the head veterinarian for the New England Aquarium, a necropsy he performed on the creature after it was brought to the aquarium revealed that it had died due to three major causes, all of them human generated hazards.
The necropsy revealed that the 400-pound sea turtle had gotten tangled in a rope, had been struck by a vessel and had also accidentally swallowed trash thrown into the sea because of human negligence. The unfortunate turtle was found washed up on the Sandy Neck Beach on Sunday and was immediately brought to the New England Aquarium as it has access to a sea turtle hospital.
Unfortunately the turtle was already deceased when it washed on the shore so all veterinarians at the aquarium could do was perform an examination in order to determine what had caused its death. The necropsy they performed showed that three factors contributed to the sea creature’s unfortunate end.
The turtle’s flippers had abrasions and lacerations which the team considered to be a clear sign of an entanglement with a rope positioned vertically in the water. This kind of rope would, of course, most likely be used by people for fishing or on boats.
The veterinarians examining the turtle also used x-rays to determine additional health issues the animal might have had and found that its shell and vertebrae had sustained various extensive fractures. These fractures indicated to employees of the aquarium that the turtle had also survived a collision with a boat which, judging by how old the fractures were, would have happened earlier this summer.
The last clue the team found consisted of several pieces of plastic that the turtle had swallowed by accident and which were found in its stomach. Besides a candy wrapper and a plastic sandwich bag, a plastic sheet that was three-foot-wide was ingested by the animal.
The leatherback turtle eventually succumbed to the ill effects of these three injuries combined. It is all the more saddening that human ignorance is at fault for the creature’s death considering that the species is endangered.
According to workers at the aquarium, leatherback turtles have been around for 65 million years and usually spend the summer and fall in New England to feed on jellyfish close to the water’s surface. But their dark coloration makes them hard to see against the dark-green waters and they are in danger of being hit by boats because they are so hard to spot.
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