Over a interval of lower than three weeks, greater than 100 endangered sea turtles washed up lifeless on an 18-mile (30 kilometers) stretch of seashore on the Pacific coast of Mexico close to Guatemala, and authorities aren’t positive why.
The mass mortality occasion started on July 24, when 26 lifeless turtles had been found within the small vacationer seashore city of Puerto Arista within the state of Chiapas, Mexico’s Federal Legal professional for Environmental Safety (PROFEPA) reported. Within the following days, officers recorded dozens extra lifeless sea turtles within the space.
On Saturday (Aug. 18), PROFEPA reported that by Aug. 13, the variety of lifeless turtles totaled 102 olive ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea), six hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricate) and 5 Pacific black sea turtles (Chelonia mydas agassizii). All three species are categorized by the Mexican authorities as critically endangered, PROFEPA reported. [In Photos: Tagging Baby Sea Turtles]
The lifeless turtles had been all adults, together with each women and men, and in numerous phases of decomposition. PROFEPA is performing necropsies on just a few of the specimens and accumulating tissue samples to assist decide the reason for the deaths.
Wildlife specialists suspect that among the turtles died from interactions with fisheries operations within the space. A number of of the turtles discovered on July 24 had accidents that appeared to come back from a hooks or fishing nets, PROFEPA reported.
The coastal waters off Puerto Arista are a part of a protected marine sanctuary, however sea turtles within the space are often caught in authorized fishing nets and drown. On Aug. 2, authorities met with fishers within the area and urged them to observe accountable fishing strategies that guarantee safety of the endangered sea turtles, PROFEPA reported.
Authorities have additionally collected water samples within the space to check for the presence of dangerous toxins from algae. On the Gulf Coast of Florida, a dangerous algal bloom known as a crimson tide has been liable for the deaths of tons of of fish, marine mammals and sea turtles. An analogous algal toxin might be killing the ocean turtles off the Pacific coast of Mexico, however authorities are nonetheless investigating, PROFEPA reported.
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