2d sea turtle death in week stirs warning
A dead leatherback sea turtle found floating between Falmouth and Martha’s Vineyard was taken yesterday to the New England Aquarium Animal Care Center in Quincy for a post-mortem examination, said Tony LaCasse, a spokesman for the aquarium.
It is the second leatherback, an endangered species, found dead in the area in a week. The 400-plus-pound turtle, which appeared to be tangled in a fishing net, was picked up around noon yesterday. A necropsy will be performed, LaCasse said.
Two other leatherback sea turtles were disentangled over the weekend, he said.
Another dead leatherback was found on the beach of the Tides Motel in Falmouth on Thursday, LaCasse said. Officials determined that turtle was probably killed by propeller strikes.
“We are worried about it,’’ LaCasse said, noting that recreational boaters should be cautious of leatherbacks and other marine wildlife.
Leatherbacks normally migrate through the waters south of Cape Cod in June and July, running the risk of being injured by recreational boats, LaCasse said.
The creature is the world’s largest sea turtle and the only one without a hard shell, which is where its name comes from.
The turtles, found in waters off Cape Cod, are normally between 400 and 700 pounds but can weigh more than a thousand.
Their dark color makes it especially hard to spot them when they are scouring for jellyfish on the surface of the water, LaCasse said.
Boaters are encouraged to reduce their speed and keep watch from the bow for sea turtles and other marine life that may be near the surface.
Boaters who spot a leatherback sea turtle entangled in mooring lines or lobster pots should contact the Coast Guard and stay with the animal until help arrives, LaCasse said.