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Questions arise after sea turtle found dead near shore of Hollywood Beach

A female sea turtle was found dead Monday morning, floating in the ocean near the shore of Hollywood Beach.
A female sea turtle was found dead Monday morning, floating in the ocean near the shore of Hollywood Beach.

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – A female sea turtle was found dead Monday morning, floating in the ocean near the shore of Hollywood Beach.

A sea turtle specialist with the Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program, which is run by Nova Southeastern University in partnership with Broward County, told Local 10 News that a beachgoer called the conservation program around 7 a.m. to report a stranded sea turtle in the area of the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk near Thomas Street.

“I saw what I thought was originally like a nesting turtle, and I was excited,” beachgoer Emily Robinson said. “It’s kind of magnificent to see something so big, and then you realize right away that it’s wrong, and then I realized she was dead and I did a little cry.”

When the sea turtle specialists arrived, they found a dead sea turtle, approximately 3-to 4-feet long, floating in the water where the waves were crashing against the sand

The specialists dragged the 400-pound sea turtle onto the sand, where they discovered what appears to be a puncture wound to its head.

They said the turtle was bloated and its carapace was flaking off due to decomposition.

According to the specialists, the turtle must have died recently because the wounds were fresh and blood was still dripping from its head.

It’s unknown whether the turtle was there to lay eggs, but that portion of the beach is a sea turtle nesting area. The nesting season runs from March to September.

Green turtles are a protected species and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is taking over the investigation. Scientists are planning to transport the turtle to a lab, where they will conduct a necropsy to determine how the creature died.

“The odds against them are tremendous and seeing one this size be gone, it just really rips you up and it’s a real reality check,” Robinson said.

Those who spot a stranded, injured or dead sea turtle are asked to call the Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program’s Sea Turtle Emergency Response hotline at 954-328-0580.

For emergencies involving sea turtles or other wildlife, you may call the FWC’s 24-hour Wildlife Alert Line at 1-888-404-3922.


About the Authors:

Madeleine Wright is a general assignment reporter for Local 10 News. She joined the team in March 2017.

Amanda Batchelor is the managing editor for Local10.com.