Saturday, 16 November 2013

Hundreds of sea turtles found dead along Central American coast

Disagreement over causes of widespread casualties

November 2013: Hundreds of sea turtles, many dead and some with signs of concussion, have been washed up on the Pacific coasts of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador and elsewhere in Central America.

Researchers in Costa Rica believe the culprit to be seasonal red tides, which secrete a potent neurotoxin, although conservationists suspect the turtles may have got caught in commercial fishing nets, or trammels.

From late September to mid-October 114 sea turtles – black turtles (Chelonia agassizii), Olive Ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) and crosses between the two – have been found on the beaches of El Salvador. Another 280 have been found so far in Costa Rica, 115 in Guatemala and an undisclosed number in Nicaragua. In late 2012, 200 were found dead on Panama’s beaches.

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