NPS seeks info on incident that led to sea turtle death
National Park Service officials are
seeking information on what led to injuries to a nesting sea turtle
over the weekend that were so severe the animal had to be euthanized.
This morning, Cape Hatteras National Seashore personnel found a
severely injured sea turtle on the beach approximately 0.66 miles north
of Ramp 32 between Salvo and Avon. The sea turtle, identified as a
threatened species green sea turtle (chelonia mydas) is believed to
have come onto the beach some time in the evening, or night, of
Saturday, Aug. 20, in order to lay a nest in the sand.
Turtle tracks led from the ocean to the nesting site approximately 20
feet above the high tide line in an off-road vehicle travel area. The
turtle had begun to lay eggs into a nest dug into the sand when it is
believed, based on significant evidence found at the scene, that a
motor vehicle struck and ran over the nesting turtle.
The incident was not reported by the involved party.
The injuries to the sea turtle were so severe that the turtle had to be euthanized by National Park Service staff.
Nine sea turtle eggs were found immediately adjacent to the injured
turtle. Biological technicians working at the scene were able to
salvage an additional 172 eggs, which were deposited in a nest site
nearby, in hope that these eggs will eventually hatch in a natural
National Park Service rangers are working with federal, state, and
local authorities to understand the circumstances surrounding this
incident. Anyone with information that may help determine the
circumstances and events that led to the severe injuries to this sea
turtle are asked to contact the Dare County Community Crime Line. For
more information, please contact: http://darecommunitycrimeline.org or call 252-473-3111 or 800-745-2746.
"This is a tragic and unfortunate incident," said seashore
Superintendent David Hallac. "We ask that all people utilize caution
and look carefully for nesting wildlife when enjoying the seashore's
Visitors to Cape Hatteras National Seashore are reminded that sea
turtles, while predominately nesting during nighttime hours, may be
present on seashore beaches at any hour of the day. The maximum speed
limit in off-road vehicle areas is 15 miles per hour. Nighttime driving
restrictions are in place during summer months to protect nesting sea
turtles. All off-road vehicles must be off seashore beaches no later
than 9 p.m.
A record 318 sea turtles had nested on seashore beaches as of last week's resource report.