A disoriented 400-pound female loggerhead sea turtle was fatally struck by multiple vehicles on Wednesday morning on State Road A1A in Indialantic, Florida. Authorities responded to a report at 5:30 a.m. near Paradise Beach of the heartbreaking accident.
According to the University of Central Florida Marine Turtle Research Group, the turtle had been attempting to dig a nest chamber on the beach several times, but because of a missing flipper became disoriented and ended up going over the dune where there was a pathway wandering into someone’s yard and then onto the road where she was struck by a passing vehicle.
Sadly the turtle estimated to have been between 50 and 60-years-old did not survive.
Loggerhead turtles are a threatened species and are protected by the federal Endangered Species Act. It is possible some outdoor lighting could have played a factor in the turtle wandering out into the road. Researchers confirmed the turtle left signs on the beach that she had come out of the ocean determined to lay her nest.
“Unfortunately, the turtle passed away, but her eggs were recovered and buried on the beach; we will monitor the nest and hopefully they will incubate and hatch as normal. There is no evidence that any people interacted with the turtle before it was hit,” the organization posted on their Facebook page.
More than 70 fertilized eggs are expected to hatch. Their nesting season runs from March 1 through October 31. Nearly 70% of the nation’s sea turtle nesting takes place in Florida.
The loggerhead had been tagged and released in 2014. At that time she had an injured front flipper; since then she suffered wounds to her rear flippers – either from predators, a boat hit or entanglement.
(Photo via T. Lee UCFMTRG, Marine Turtle Permit #186)
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